The contract, awarded by Codelco, the country’s national copper company, is worth US$400m (£250m). Vinci Construction Grands Projets will be responsible for 60% of the contract and Soletanche Bachy for 40%.
The project involves drilling and blasting two 9km tunnels, each with an average cross section of 65m2, together with two intermediate access tunnels totalling 6km. The first of the main tunnels is for transporting personnel; the other is for the ore. The tunnels will enable a new mine level to be created in El Teniente, the world’s biggest underground copper mine.
El Teniente is located at an altitude of between 1,500m and 1,900m, 80km to the south of Santiago, in the Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins region in the Andes.
The work, which is scheduled to start in October, will take 40 months to complete.