AUSENCO DIGS COPPER EXPANSION CONTRACT

AUSENCO DIGS COPPER EXPANSION CONTRACT

ENGINEERING and project management business Ausenco (ASX:AAX) today signed a create phase (EPCM) contract to manage its $125 million expansion of Barrick Gold Corporation’s US-listed Lumwana Copper Project in Zambia.

Ausenco’s chief financial officer Craig Allen (pictured) predicts the contract could be worth up to $20 million with profit before tax upwards of $2 million. He says there was no secret to sealing the deal but a strong 2011 was helpful.

“We had a pretty good 2011, making 15 to 16 announcements with staff numbers growing to 3000 and a strong level of new awards,” says Allen.

“The business has turned a corner from where it was in 2009-10 and is on track to release its fiscal 2011 results on February 22.”

The South Brisbane-based company’s minerals and metals business will manage the project, which involves expanding an existing ore crushing and processing plant at the Lumwana copper mine with a plant production rate target of 25 million tonnes per annum. The expansion is expected to be complete in June 2012.

CEO Zimi Meka says the new contract is built on Ausenco’s long and successful association with the Lumwana project and close working relationship with Barrick.

“We have a long established connection with the Lumwana project that stretches back to our work in designing and delivering the existing concentrator in 2008,” says Meka.

Ausenco shares slightly rose today to $2.38 per unit.

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