Rio Tinto has approved a US$1.4 billion investment into two projects to support increased production at the Escondida copper mine in Chile.
The first, dubbed the Organic Growth 1 Project (OGP 1), replaces the existing Los Colorados concentrator with a new 152 000 tonnes per day plant, as well as access to the higher grade ores located underneath existing facilities.
Construction of the plant will be completed within around three years and cost approximately US$3.8 billion, of which Rio will provide US$1.2 billion.
The second project, the Escondida Oxide Leach Area Project (OLAP) is the creation a dynamic leaching pad and mineral handling system.
OLAP will cost Rio US$ 216 million, with construction pegged for July 2014.