MONTREAL — SNC-Lavalin Inc. has received the green light to go ahead with work on a mining contract worth about US$355-million in fees for a group led by the Montreal-based engineering and construction giant.The overall cost of the Cobre Panama copper project in Panama will be about US$6.2-billion, including US$3.2-billion of infrastructure to be overseen by the SNC joint venture group.SNC has a 70% interest in the joint venture and is partnered by GyM S.A., a member of Grana y Montero Group, and Techint International Construction Corp., each with a 15% interest.The contract is with Minera Panama S.A., a subsidiary of Toronto-based Inmet Mining Corp., to provide detailed engineering, procurement and construction management services for the project infrastructure component of the project.[np-related]The contract covers infrastructure related to an open pit mine, including supporting infrastructure related to concentrator and processing facilities, transmission lines, roads, bridges, camps and port facilities, SNC said in a news release.“This is a tremendous opportunity for SNC-Lavalin to work with its joint venture partners, Inmet, MPSA and local stakeholders, to design and build the project infrastructure for this world-class copper mine in Panama,” said Feroz Ashraf, executive vice-president, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.“This award builds on our 20-year relationship with Inmet and reflects their continuing confidence in our ability to carry out challenging and prestigious projects for them.”Detailed engineering and procurement is to begin immediately and infrastructure construction activities are already in progress at the site, SNC said.The project is scheduled to be operational in 2016 and the mine is expected to have a life of about 30 years.SNC-Lavalin is one of the leading engineering and construction groups in the world and a major player in the ownership of infrastructure and in the provision of operations and maintenance services.With offices across Canada and in more than 35 other countries, it is currently working on projects in about 100 countries around the world.
The Alice Springs-based Lhere Artepe Group has acquired 51% of the CDE Group, taking indigenous ownership of the Australian mining and civil works contracting group to 84%. CDE’s current activities include providing services to Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek iron ore mine in Western Australia through the Downer EDI contracting group, and to Xstrata for the McArthur River zinc mine in the Northern Territory.In acquiring a 51% investment, Lhere Artepe – which represents the Central Arrernte Traditional Owners of the Alice Springs region – joins the Rusca family which has 33% of CDE as the Aboriginal majority owners.Current civil works contracts held by CDE include work for the New Future Alliance as part of the $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP), a joint initiative of the Australian and Northern Territory governments. CDE is also the lead contractor on the construction of two residential subdivisions comprising some 76 lots in the premium residential development of Mount Johns in Alice Springs, which includes sites for single dwelling, multiple dwelling and two townhouse-style developments, with 78 Units for LAE Nominees, the property development arm of the Lhere Artepe Group.Darryl Pearce of Lhere Artepe Group has been elected Chairman of the CDE Group and Phil Staveley has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. Pearce said that Lhere Artepe looked forward to working with CDE and to broadening the company’s civil, equipment hire, and mining services contracts in the NT and other states and territories. “We are enthusiastic about our investment in CDE which has been at the forefront of indigenous ownership and employment in Australia for several years and has played a key role in bringing people from Aboriginal communities into the workforce,” Pearce said. “We are dedicated to continuing this policy at CDE which currently has a workforce of around 100 people, of which 75% are indigenous employees.”Staveley said CDE looked forward to a bright future with its new major shareholder and, where necessary, would continue to make further structural changes as part of a renewed focus to capitalise on new business opportunities. “The development of future business opportunities is the most critical aspect of fulfilling CDE’s growth potential. The approach which Lhere Artepe brings to the business – being focused on management, structure, and client satisfaction – fits well with the CDE model and will allow the company to refocus its energies into creating and nurturing future business opportunities for the company,” Staveley said. The Lhere Artepe Group consists of four entities with a diverse range of investments as part of its vision for a safer, tidier, culturally rich and sustainable Alice Springs. Last year, the corporation’s drive for local ownership resulted in the Group making investments in Alice Springs of more than $25 million, including the development of two residential subdivisions and the acquisition of three Alice Springs IGA Foodland stores at Northside, Eastside and Flynn Drive.The CDE Group evolved from a family civil works business established by the Rusca family in the 1970s and is regarded as one of Australia’s largest indigenous-owned contracting companies operating in civil works and mining. CDE was the 2008 winner of the national Contract Miner of the Year award which is presented each year as part of the Australian Mining Prospect Awards.