Cerrejon Mining Complex Expansion

In 2011, SNC-Lavalin took on the challenge to strengthen the infrastructure and optimize processes in the three main areas of the Cerrejon mining complex in Colombia: upgrades to the mine facilities, expansion of the railway works and improvements to the port material handling facilities.


To complete this integrated solutions EPCM contract, SNC-Lavalin entered into a joint venture agreement with Jacobs. The goal was to boost production, transportation and loading capacity from 32 to 40 million tonnes of steam coal for export, with the biggest challenge being to complete the project without interrupting operations.

The work involved preliminary and detailed engineering, procurement, construction management, pre-commissioning and overall project management. Work was carried out in accordance with the strictest health, safety, environmental and quality standards. The construction phase was completed in November 2014.

Located in the Department of Guajira in northern Colombia, Cerrejon is one of the largest open-pit coal mines in the world. This expansion project was the first large-scale mining project carried out in the country in the last 20 years.

One project, three worksites

A new crusher was installed at the mine, increasing the conveyor’s throughput capacity between silos, drivers and samplers to 6,000 tonnes per hour. The support infrastructure was expanded, with a new 4,228-m2 welding shop, a 40,000-barrel diesel tank, additional tire changing and maintenance bays, a repair shop and new truck washing bays, among other features.

For the railway works, the siding and maintenance lines were expanded, as were the railway terminals, for a total of 14 km in rail extensions.

At the port, we built over 2,000 metres transport conveyor belts and transfer towers of 2,000-tonnes per hour capacity, a new sampler and auxiliary equipment, a new 180,000 dwt loading berth and two ship loaders (SL2 and SL3) with a capacity of 6,000 tonnes per hour ea.

Our commitment to safety and the environment is our priority

The project took 7.5 million person hours over a period of 4½ years to complete, during which time there were no fatal accidents or serious injuries recorded, and no damage to local ecosystems in any of the mine, railway or port facility worksites.

Share This On