Mine development plan increases processing capacity to 85,000 t/d

Gibraltar Copper Mine
British Columbia, Canada
2011 - 2013
Gibraltar Mines Ltd
Industry Sector
Minerals & Metals
Service Area
Process Plants; Project Delivery
Copper & Mineral Processing Plants; Tailings Management & Metal Recovery; EPC/EPCM Contracting; Program Management

Ausenco provided Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management services for the third phase of the development and modernisation of the Gibraltar copper-molybdenum mine, located in McLeese Lake, British Columbia, Canada. The project is known as the Gibraltar Development Plan 3 (GDP3) Project.

In the Spring of 2011, work commenced for GDP3 and included the construction of a 30,000 t/d concentrator, to complement the existing 55,000 t/d facility. Capital costs for GDP3 were $235 million for the concentrator and molybdenum plant and approximately $90 million for mining equipment. An integral part of the project was a new molybdenum recovery facility. The project included the construction of a new stand-alone concentrator to add the additional 30,000 t/d to the processing capability, with minimal interruption to existing copper and molybdenum production.

The project incorporated additional primary grinding, secondary grinding, regrind, rougher flotation, cleaner flotation, concentrate filtration and tailings pumping capacity as well as various ancillary systems and upgrades. A stand-alone molybdenum separation plant was also constructed to replace the existing molybdenum circuit; the new molybdenum plant is planned to double the mine’s molybdenum metal production to approximately 25 million pounds per year. These modifications and upgrades enhanced Gibraltar’s operating flexibility and reliability and built economic security in the region.

Upon completion, the GDP3 project increased the overall processing capacity to 85,000 t/d with an annual copper production averaging 165 million pounds. GDP3 was completed on time and on budget and commissioning began in December 2012.


  • Over 1 million man hours without a lost-time incident
  • Minimal interruption to existing production during plant shutdowns
  • Optimised existing site footprint, facilities and systems to provide cost-effective solutions
  • Completed on time and on budget
  • The GDP3 project directly employed over 500 workers at the peak of construction

Previous work performed by Ausenco for this project included an update to a 2008 Scoping Study for GDP3 incorporating process and layout optimisations made possible by the completion of the previous project phases.