Sprouting up quickly, but safely

MEVA32 and StarTec used for new building at copper mine

Data & Facts

  • Project
    • New entrance portal, Mina Los Pelambres, Chile
  • Principal
    • Tecnasic S.A.
  • MEVA systems
    • StarTec wall formwork system
    • MevaFlex slab formwork system
    • MEVA32 shoring tower system
    • Triplex heavy-duty braces
  • Engineering and support
    • GFS Global Formwork & Scaffolding, Chile

Simple assembly of MEVA32 on ground

At the Los Pelambres mine in Chile, some 175,000 tonnes of ore are processed every day for copper extraction. To boost output, the engineering company Tecnasic was contracted to expand the infrastructure. GFS supplied both advice and the formwork technology.

In the open-cast Los Pelambres mine over 3,000 m (10,000 ft.) above sea level, grinding and flotation processes are used to extract high-grade copper concentrate. From the second half of 2021 onwards, the daily processing rate will be stepped up to 190,000 t to achieve an annual copper yield of 400,000 t. This expansion will be supported by a new access point on the western perimeter of the mine.

As its centrepiece, a 9.50 m (31.2 ft.) tall, 14.50 m (47.6 ft.) long and 10.20 m (33.5 ft.) wide building will serve as an entrance portal to the primary crusher. It will also house the transformers needed to supply various components, e.g. suction pipes and fans, with solar energy from a photovoltaic system. The installation also incorporates ducts, pipes and filter systems. MEVA partner GFS (Global Formwork & Scaffolding) was appointed to design and supply the best solution for the project. This featured the StarTec wall formwork, Triplex heavy-duty brace, MEVA32 shoring tower, and MevaFlex slab formwork systems.

Rapid formwork assembly and stripping
With a fresh concrete load capacity of 60 ­kN­/­m² (1,250 psf) over the full surface, the robust StarTec wall formwork system readily coped with the high hydrostatic pressures. The easy-to-handle formwork guaranteed fast and straightforward formwork assembly and stripping, while the durable alkus all-plastic facing, with its smooth surface, delivered a neat and accurate fair-faced concrete finish. For concreting the upper wall areas, the formwork was additionally supported by MEVA's length-adjustable Triplex braces.

Simple assembly of MEVA32 on ground
The over 50 m³ (66 yd³) of concrete needed to cast the roof slab was reliably placed using the stable, lightweight MEVA32 tower shoring system. With a support capacity of 142 kN (32 kips), the system is ideal for challenging applications involving high loads and elevated heights.

With easy-to-handle components weighing max. 23 kg ( 49 lbs), the shoring tower can be quickly and easily assembled on the ground by a single person before being craned into position. Treading on the top of each cross bar further improves worker safety. The system is space-efficient and allows flexible assembly around the building's other structural elements so that plenty of working space remains at ground level.

Due to the frequent snowfall at this altitude in the Cordillera Mountains near the border with Argentina, provision was needed for a 25° roof pitch. To obtain a reliable solution for pouring concrete onto the sloping form face and practical on-site formwork assembly, the client drew on the expertise of GFS. This entailed adjustment of the wall and slab formwork in line with the form face inclination. The roof construction was built ­using the ­cost-effective ­MevaFlex slab formwork system, which is readily adaptable to any building geometry.