Australia-based Worley has secured a detailed engineering and procurement services contract pertaining to South32’s Hermosa project in the US.

The contract is for the underground infrastructure and the surface non-process facilities of the Taylor zinc-lead-silver deposit.

According to the terms of the contract, Worley will offer design and procurement services underground mechanical and electrical infrastructure for excavation, power distribution, and dewatering.

The company will also support with maintenance and ore handling systems at the Hermosa project.

Besides, Worley will be responsible for integrating ventilation, shaft transport, and communication infrastructure for the underground operations along with the design for the surface non-process facilities.

Worley US operations president Tom Foster said: “This is our first project with South32 in North America, underlining our dedication to the US mining sector while helping provide minerals that are essential for the energy transition.

“Collaborating with South32, we’ll work to enable a data-centric, ‘digital asset’ approach, ensuring seamless updates, operations, maintenance, and future expansions throughout the mine’s lifecycle. This innovative approach will be underpinned by our expertise in project delivery, both underground and at the surface.”

Located in the Patagonia Mountains, approximately 80km south-east of Tucson, Arizona, the Hermosa project consists of the zinc-lead-silver Taylor sulphide deposit and the zinc-manganese-silver Clark oxide deposit.

The project, which has a highly prospective broader land package, also includes the copper-lead-zinc-silver Peake exploration target and the Flux prospect.

Besides, the Hermosa project is said to be the only advanced mine development project in the US that could produce two federally designated critical minerals, namely manganese and zinc.

The Hermosa project aims to use 75% less water than other mines in the region. It will also integrate automation and advanced technologies to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions associated with the mine.

Last week, South32 secured a $20m grant from the US Department of Defense (DoD) to support the Hermosa project. The financing was awarded under the Defense Production Act (DPA) battery grant programme.