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BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto building $3B water plant

Keywords: Tags  BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Escondida, copper, desalination

SINGAPORE — BHP Billiton Plc and Rio Tinto Plc will invest a combined $3 billion to build a 660-gallon-per-second seawater desalination facility to ensure water supply to the Escondida copper mine in Chile.

Construction, expected to start this week, will include two pipelines, four high-pressure pump stations, a reservoir at the mine site and high-voltage infrastructure to support the system.

The facility, scheduled to be commissioned in 2017, will provide sustainable water supply to the new copper concentrator and minimize Escondida’s reliance on the region’s aquifers, the companies said.

BHP will invest $1.97 billion for the facility and Rio Tinto will invest $1.03 billion.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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