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Escondida Copper, Gold and Silver Mine, Atacama Desert

Producer of



Northern Chile


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



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