Quellaveco Open Pit Copper Mine

Client: Anglo American (majority owner) and Mitsubishi
Location: Near Moquegua, Peru

Executive Summary

In 2012, Anglo American reached an agreement with the Moquegua community on various aspects of the Quellaveco Open Pit Copper Mine project. This included the use of water; environment and social responsibility; and establishing a social fund to finance Moquegua projects. This greenfield project is one of Peru's largest and is located 34 kilometers east of the town of Moquegua. The Quellaveco Project is the centerpiece of Anglo American's growth strategy for copper production.

Continuing in 2018, Fluor was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction of the Quellaveco copper project.

Its scope comprises the following:

  • Open pit mining of a single porphyry copper deposit
  • Ore processing in a 127.5 ktpd conventional copper concentrator
  • Tailings disposal
  • Shipment of concentrate by truck to the port of Enersur in Ilo and ocean shipping to destination smelters
  • Development of required mine and port infrastructure including river diversion tunnel, water and power supply, fresh water pipeline, access roads, and worker accommodation

Quellaveco is a typical porphyry copper deposit. The operation will use processing by flotation to produce copper concentrates and molybdenum. The project, located approximately 130 kilometers southeast of Arequipa, will exploit a significantly sized copper/molybdenum ore body at an altitude of around 3,500 meters (11,483 feet).

Client's Challenge

Quellaveco obtained the corresponding permits for this higher ore-processing rate, as well as for other changes to the project. The greenfield project will incorporate a footprint of 40,000 hectares (159 square miles).

The project will be an open pit mine that will process 127,500 tonnes per day of ore via conventional crushing, grinding and flotation technology to produce 300,000 tonnes of copper per year.

Fluor's Solution

Fluor completed initial study work on the project in 2010 for a 91.2 ktpd copper concentrator. It has since been reconfigured to a nominal ore-processing rate of 127.5 ktpd to provide more robust economic returns. As engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) contractor, Fluor is currently completing the 127.5 ktpd feasibility study.

The primary crusher will be located adjacent to the pit in the Quellaveco valley, from where ore will be conveyed to a coarse ore stockpile in the adjacent Papujune valley. Below this stockpile, a twin coarse ore reclaim tunnel will feed two SAG mills for primary grinding and two ball mills for secondary grinding. Flotation circuits will produce two separate copper and molybdenum concentrates for transportation and sale.

Currently, the Fluor team is leading construction management for early site works, including an 7.6-kilometer diversion tunnel for the Asana river, one of four tunnels totaling 13 kilometers (8 miles) in length. Three significant dams in height from 40 meters to 85 meters (131 to 279 feet) at high altitude have been constructed to support future processing operations along with several storage ponds to provide construction water. A main access road from Moquegua to the project site (2 hour one-way route) is complete.

Four separate construction camps are being built to house 8,400 workers onsite. Fluor is providing the life support services and logistics to care for the site personnel. With respect to the remote mountain access and high altitude work conditions,the Quellaveco project recently achieved 5 million work safe hours without a lost time incident in October 2015, which is a notable accomplishment given the large earthwork, tunneling excavation, and harsh desert environment.

The majority of work takes place at an elevation of 3,000 meters (9,842 ft.) above sea level. Fluor will pre-assemble certain structures to improve safety and quality by increasing the amount of work in a controlled environment at lower elevations.


Fluor has been responsible for early site infrastructure development since 2014. The project is estimated to require more than 9,000 workers during peak construction phase.


Quellaveco Copper Mine Project
Quellaveco Copper Mine Project - December 2020 Update