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SNC-Lavalin shareholders chat prior to the company's annual general meeting in May. The company said the contract was awarded by Compania Minera del Pacifico SA for work at its Cerro Negro Norte iron ore project.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. has been awarded a contract valued at more than $50-million (U.S.) to provide engineering, procurement and construction services for a thickened mine tailings disposal system at an iron ore project in Chile.

The system will treat 20,000 tonnes of tailings produced by the mine each day.

The project is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2013. The engineering phase has been completed and construction is scheduled to start in October.

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The Montreal-based engineering giant said the contract was awarded by Compania Minera del Pacifico SA (Cap Mineria) for work at the Cerro Negro Norte iron ore project in the Atacama desert, one of the driest places in the world.

The technology will allow the tailings to be stored safely and recover about 98 per cent of water, an extremely scarce resource in the region.

SNC-Lavalin executive vice-president Feroz Ashraf said the technology provides better protection for the environment and saves energy.

"This award reiterates our commitment to the sustainable development of mining and metallurgical projects worldwide," he stated.

SNC-Lavalin is one of the leading engineering and construction groups in the world, with offices across Canada and operations in some 100 countries.

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