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Escondida Copper, Gold and Silver Mine, Atacama Desert

Producer of

Copper

Location

Northern Chile

Ownership

BHP-Billiton (57.5%), Rio Tinto (30%), JECO Corporation (10%), International Finance Corporation (2.5%)

Geology type

Copper porphyry deposit with primary sulphides overlain by secondary oxides

Mineral type

Primary – chalocopyrite and bornite; Secondary – covellite and chalcocite

Reserve base

3,900Mt proven and probable (2005)

Annual production

87.7Mt of sulphide ore, yielding 1.17Mt of copper, 139,000oz of gold and 5.9Moz of silver (2005/06)

Mining method

Open pit

Processing method

Sulphide ore – SAG milling and flotation to recover concentrates; Oxide ore – acid leaching and electro-winning to produce copper cathodes

Employment

2,200

Open pit

Bucyrus 495 electric mining shovels

Caterpillar 793B and 973C haul trucks

Komatsu 830E haul trucks

Bucyrus 49-R and 49-RII electric drills

Ingersoll Rand DMM2 diesel-powered drill

Wenco International fleet management system

Contractors

Pre-stripping: Cia. Minera del Pacifico

Plant: Fluor Daniel

Pipeline: PSI-JRI Ingenieria

Port: Sandwell

Accommodation: Sabinco
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