Minera Escondida Copper Mine, Atacama, Chile, Map and News

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Minera Escondida Copper Mine
Minera Escondida, which means 'hidden' in Spanish, is a mining company that operates two open pit copper mines in the Atacama Desert, 170 km southeast of Antofagasta in northern Chile. It is currently the highest producing copper mine in the world. 2007 production of 1.483 million tons of the metal was worth US$ 10.12 billion, mainly as metal in concentrate but some as cathode, and was 9.5% of world output and 26% of Chilean production, according to the US Geological Survey's preliminary estimates of 2007 world mine output.

Escondida produces mainly copper concentrates, which are piped as a slurry down to the port of Coloso where they are dewatered before shipping, and a smaller proportion of cathode copper from the leaching of both oxide and low grade sulfide ore. It also produces gold and silver.

The mine is owned 57.5% by BHP Billiton, 30% by Rio Tinto, 10% by JECO, a Japanese consortium headed by Mitsubishi and 2.5% by the International Finance Corp (IFC), a World Bank subsidiary. Source: Wikipedia, Escondida.

Productive operations began in 1990, and since October 2005 the Company also operates Escondida Norte, which is a second open pit located 5 km from the main pit.

Minera Escondida produces copper concentrate by means of the sulphide ore flotation process, and also produces copper cathodes using the oxide ore leaching and low-grade sulphide bio-leaching processes. The Company moves around 360 million tonnes of mineral annually. Source: escondida.cl.
 

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