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BHP Billiton today announced it has approved its share of the capital expenditure required to expand mining and processing capacity at the Antamina copper and zinc mine in northern Peru.

Antamina is a joint venture between BHP Billiton (33.75%), Xstrata (33.75%), Teck Resources (22.5%) and Mitsubishi Corporation (10%). All four partners have approved their respective shares of the project's US$1,288 million capital budget (BHP Billiton share US$434.7 million).

The expansion project will increase the site's ore processing capacity by 38% to 130,000 tonnes per day. Higher mineral ore reserves previously reported in combination with the expanded processing capacity will result in a mine life extension of 6 years from 2023 until 2029. First production from the expansion is anticipated in late 2011.

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