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BHP Billiton Assets To Provide Materials For Olympic Medals

BHP Billiton today announced that raw materials mined in Australia and Chile will be used to produce the medals for the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing, China.

The company’s Cannington mine in Queensland, Australia and its Escondida and Spence operations in Chile will provide the materials needed to produce the gold, silver and bronze medals for the Games.

Cannington will supply the silver that is used in the production of both the gold and silver medals. Escondida will supply copper concentrate which will contain the gold for the gold medals, while Spence will provide copper cathode that is used to produce the bronze for the bronze medals.

The materials will be shipped from both countries to the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation in Shanghai where the medals will be created.

BHP Billiton Chief Executive Officer Chip Goodyear said the announcement highlighted the company’s world-class diversified asset base.

"As the Official Diversified Minerals and Medals Sponsor of the Games, we are proud to be supporting Beijing 2008.

"The Games present us with many unique opportunities including the chance to showcase our position as the world’s largest diversified minerals company and our continued support for China’s long-term development and its emerging role in the international community.

"Our sponsorship also allows us to illustrate the alignment between the Olympic ideals and BHP Billiton’s Charter Values," he said.

Mr Goodyear added that a determining factor in selecting the assets for the project was the ability to involve as many BHP Billiton employees as possible.

"While many of our employees around the world will participate in the Olympic effort, our employees in Chile and Australia have the opportunity to directly contribute to the Olympic program," he said.

For the Cannington mine, the announcement adds to its own sporting heritage, having provided the material for the silver medals at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Melbourne’s 2006 Commonwealth Games.

About the Assets

Located in northwest Queensland, Australia, Cannington is a fly-in, fly-out mining and processing operation that has grown to become the world’s largest and lowest cost single mine producer of both silver and lead.

Located in Chile’s Atacama Desert 170 kilometres southeast of Antofagasta, Escondida is the world's largest copper producer, producing copper from open pit mining. Escondida is also one of the lowest cost copper producers.

The Spence deposit is located at an elevation of 1,700 meters above sea level in the arid Atacama Desert Region of northern Chile near the small community of Sierra Gorda.