The Mina de Cobre Project is a $6 billion greenfields project located in Panama and operated by Minera Panama SA (MPSA). It is designed to process approximately 74 mtpa of ore to produce almost 500,000 tonnes of copper per annum. It comprises a Port facility, Punta Rincon, on the northern coast of Panama about 150 km from Panama City, a 300MW coal fired power station and a mine and process plant about 22km inland named Botija. Copper concentrate is pumped from the process plant and filtered and stockpiled at the Port. It is reclaimed as required and shipped from a dedicated shiploading facility while coal for the power station and other materials and consumables, including diesel for the mining fleet, is brought in at Punta Rincon.
From the power station a dual circuit 230kV transmission line supplies power to the mine and plant. It also connects into the Panamanian electrical grid at the Llano Sanchez substation, about 94kms from the mine. This link enables MPSA to sell power into the grid as well as purchase power if necessary.
A new 230kV substation is being constructed at Botija where the 230kV supply is transformed down to 34,5kV for reticulation around the site.
There are currently seven GMD Mills being installed at the Botija Plant site – 3 x 28MW SAG Mills and 4 x 16,5MW Ball Mills.
The site topography is very rugged with considerable local relief covered by dense rainforest and this, together with the climatic conditions, which are tropical with high precipitation levels, high humidity and relatively high temperatures of 25ºC to 35ºC year-round has represented many engineering design challenges. MPSA has a very strict environment policy with a focus on retaining the local rainforest wherever possible and it was essential for the design and construction to accommodate this requirement.