Washington Group to Operate Copper Mine in Arizona

Copper mining is to restart at the Pinto Valley Mine, Arizona following a $310m deal. BHP Copper Inc., an indirect fully-owned subsidiary of BHP Billiton Ltd, has awarded the contract to Washington Group and mining is expected to begin in June 2007.

Under a five-year, $310m, cost-reimbursable contract, Washington Group will provide contract mining services including the supply of mining equipment; drilling, blasting, loading, and hauling of ore and waste; mining of approximately 33 million tons per year; and maintenance of equipment and facilities. Procurement and mobilisation activities are under way.

"We are very pleased that BHP Copper Inc. has awarded us this contract. We look forward to supporting BHP Copper in bringing Pinto Valley back into production and significantly advancing our business interests in the region," said Robert Zaist, president of Washington Group's Mining Business Unit, headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

With more than $3bn in annual revenue, Washington Group employs approximately 25,000 people globally. It boasts coal, zinc, silver, copper, gold, lead, bauxite and phosphate mining operations in the US, the Caribbean, Canada, Latin America and Europe.