CHILE — BHP Billiton has received approval from the Chilean government to go ahead with the US$3.25-billion Phase V expansion of the Escondida copper mine. The project includes expansion and new mill facilities for the processing of additional sulphide ore. Escondida is the world’s largest copper producer with an output forecast to be 417,638 tonnes of copper in concentrate and 172,100 tonnes of copper cathode in 2009.
BHP Billiton holds a 57.5% share of the Escondida project. The remainder is held by Rio Tinto (30%) and a Japanese partner.
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