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Rio Tinto PLC And BHP Billiton To Spend $3 Billion To Build New Seawater Desalination Plant At Escondida Mine In Chile-AAP

Thursday, 25 Jul 2013 07:25pm EDT 

Australian Associated Press reported that Rio Tinto PLC and BHP Billiton will spend USD3 billion (AUD3.26 billion) to build a new seawater desalination plant at the Escondida mine in Chile. Rio, which has a 30% stake in the mine, will contribute USD1.03 billion (AUD1.13 billion) and BHP Billiton, which has a 57% share and also operates the mine, will put in USD1.97 billion (AUD2.14 billion). The companies say the 2,500-litre-per-second facility will provide a sustainable supply of water for the new OGP1 copper concentrator approved in February 2012 to minimise Escondida's reliance on regional aquifers. Construction will start this month with commissioning scheduled for 2017. The project will include two pipelines, four high-pressure pump stations, a reservoir at the mine site and high voltage infrastructure to support the system. The remaining interests in the Escondida mine, located 3,100 metres above sea level and 170 kilometres southeast of the City of Antofagasta, are owned by JECO Corporation (10.0%) and JECO 2 Ltd (2.5%). Rio said its investment will be funded through the company's share of Escondida's cash flows. BHP gave no details on its funding source. 

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