BHP owns 57.5 per cent of, and operates, the Escondida mine which is a leading producer of copper. Escondida, located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, is a copper porphyry deposit that also produces gold and silver. Its two open-cut pits currently feed two concentrator plants which use grinding and flotation technologies to produce copper concentrate, as well as two leaching operations (oxide and sulphide).
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Pampa Norte (Chile)
Pampa Norte consists of two wholly owned operations in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile – Spence and Cerro Colorado. During FY2016, Spence and Cerro Colorado produced 174 kt and 77 kt, respectively, of high-quality copper cathode, using oxide and sulphide ore treatment through leaching, solvent extraction and electrowinning processes. In FY2017, Spence processed a record 20 Mt or ore and had record production, following the completion of the Recovery Optimisation (SRO) project.
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BHP owns 33.75 per cent of Antamina, a large, low-cost copper and zinc mine in north central Peru. Our share of Antamina’s total production for FY2016 was 146 kt of copper concentrate and 55 kt of zinc concentrate. In FY2017, Antamina continues to study options to debottleneck the operation and increase throughput. In this regard, Antamina achieved record material mined of 245 Mt in FY2017. Antamina by-products include molybdenum and lead/bismuth concentrate and small amounts of silver.