Escondida Ore Access Project Gets Go-ahead
Escondida is located in the north of Chile, in the Atacama Desert, 170 km southeast of the city of Antofagasta, at an altitude of 3,100 m above sea level. Production began in 1990, and since October 2005, the company has also operated Escondida Norte, a second open-pit located 5 km from the main pit. In addition to the two mines, Escondida assets and infrastructure include two concentrators (Laguna Seca and Los Colorados), an electro-winning plant, and two pipelines that transport copper concentrate from the mine to a filter plant at the port of Coloso. A seawater desalinization plant was recently built in the port area to supply part of the operation's water consumption.
Minera Escondida is owned 57.5% by BHP Billiton; 30% by Rio Tinto; 10% by JECO Corp., a consortium owned by Mitsubishi Corp., 70%, Mitsubishi Materials, 10%, and Nippon Mining & Metals, 20%; and 10% by International Finance Corporation. BHP Billiton is the operating company.