BHP Billiton invest $2.6 billion in Escondida copper expansion

BHP Billiton to invest $2.6 billion in Escondida copper expansion

11:38 PM, 13th February 2012
BHP Billiton to invest $2.6 billion in Escondida copper expansion

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: BHP Billiton approved a total investment of $2.6 billion in two projects that will underpin higher production at Escondida over the next decade. Organic Growth Project 1 (OGP1) will replace the Los Colorados concentrator with a new 152,000 tonne per day (tpd) plant and allow access to higher grade ore located underneath the existing facilities. Construction will begin in February 2012 with commissioning anticipated the first half of 2015. The project will cost $3.8 billion and is expected to create up to 7,000 jobs during the construction phase.

BHP Billiton also approved the Oxide Leach Area Project (OLAP) which creates a new dynamic leaching pad and mineral handling system that will include several overland conveyers. OLAP is expected to cost $721 million with commissioning anticipated in the middle of 2014. Approximately 2,500 jobs will be created during the construction phase. “We expect the completion of the current Escondida Ore Access and Laguna Seca debottlenecking projects, and a strong recovery in ore grades, to support a substantial recovery in Escondida copper production to over 1.3 million tonne per annum in 2015,” said Peter Beaven, President, BHP Billiton Base Metals.

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