14 September 2021
Road renovation in Chile to deliver safety and employment opportunities
A project to renovate the access road between our Escondida mine and the city of Antofagasta in northern Chile is expected to improve safety outcomes and stimulate local employment opportunities.
The busy access road is owned by Escondida and transports our people and daily loads of fuel, explosives and other general freight. After 28 years of operation and with the road infrastructure reaching the end of its useful life, Escondida commenced a renovation project to improve road conditions and reduce the likelihood of accidents.
Following a competitive tender process, a consortium of Macquarie Group, Besalco Group and Arrigoni Group – known as Sociedad Concesionaria del Norte S.A. – was commissioned in FY2021 to undertake the project. The consortium was selected for their extensive experience in road construction throughout Latin America and their commitment to social value and employing a gender-balanced and local workforce.
The contract is structured into two parts:
- Improvement – operate and improve the existing road infrastructure and provide certain ancillary services.
- Operation – operate, conserve and maintain the road and provide ancillary services.
The renovation is expected to extend the life of the road for at least another 20 years and reduce the potential for safety risks to occur, such as accidents on the way to and from the site. Safety will be managed via real-time vehicle monitoring and classification (including type of vehicle, origin and destination, speed) providing visibility over traffic conditions. In response to any traffic hazards or accidents, 24-hour ancillary and emergency services will also be provided.
The wellbeing of our people and the wider community is also expected to be supported by:
- stimulating local employment opportunities (minimum 30 per cent local workforce during Improvement phase and 75 per cent during Operation phase)
- facilitating employment opportunities for women (minimum 50 per cent female workforce during Operation phase).
- helping activate the local economy in Antofagasta following the social unrest in 2019 and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19