Built on a sound foundation

Mammut 350 wall formwork delivers strong performance in Atacama Desert

Data & Facts

  • Project
    • Molino Bolas, Mantos Blancos, Chile
  • Principal
    • Promet Sp.A., Chile
  • MEVA systems
  • Engineering and support
    • GFS Global Formwork & Scaffolding, Chile

Recognising the need for a highly robust formwork system to accommodate the sheer volume of concrete, GFS Global Formwork & Scaffolding opted to supply MEVA technology.

At an open-cast mine in the Antofagasta region of northern Chile, Mantos Copper extracts copper oxide minerals for the production of copper concentrate. The installations at the Mantos Blancos mine are undergoing modification with the aim of increasing annual output to 50,000 t and cutting running costs.

Scheduled for completion by the end of 2020, the project involves expansion of the copper oxide/copper sulphide lines and concentrator system by industrial construction company Promet Sp.A. One key element of the scheme comprises installation of a ball mill, a cylindrical machine for grinding the extracted ore. This requires construction of a new 28.50 m long, 17.20 m wide and up to 14.00 m tall building, which stands on a monumental 2.80 m thick foundation.

Seismic risk assessments, the mass of the development and the dynamic impact and friction loads from the milling operations necessitated the placement, within 40 hours, of over 1,400 m³ of concrete in the rock-strewn Atacama Desert. Recognising the need for a highly robust formwork system to accommodate the sheer volume of concrete, GFS Global Formwork & Scaffolding opted to supply MEVA technology. The solution featured the strong, industrial Mammut wall formwork system, with 300 cm tall panels and a fresh concrete load capacity of up to 100 kN/m².

As a seasoned expert for large-scale formwork applications, GFS advised Promet on the development of a safe, reliable and practical design solution. As additional support for the externally braced Mammut panels in resisting the hydrostatic pressures, the formwork supplier provided for the incorporation of specially designed anchors: through their tensile strength, twin tie rods secured from the outside by bolts offered extra stability. GFS also advised the customer on the calculation of pour speeds, the checking of cold joints and the preparation of construction joints.

The Mammut 350 formwork system is particularly important for GFS. “With panel sizes up to 3.50 x 2.50 m, it is by far the biggest system on the Chilean market,” explains GFS General Director Rodrigo Muñoz. “And the fact that it needs so few accessories per square metre significantly boosts productivity.” MEVA's Chilean partner is no less impressed by the durable alkus all-plastic facing, which is easy to clean and repair. After – quite literally – “laying the foundation” for successful delivery of this project in the Atacama Desert, Mammut was also used for the subsequent pour cycles.