BHP Billiton today announced that the partners of Samarco had approved the US$3.5 billion (BHP Billiton share1 US$1.75 billion) Fourth Pellet Plant Project at Samarco (Brazil). The expansion will increase Samarco iron ore pellet production capacity by 8.3 million tonnes to 30.5 million tonnes per annum (100% basis). First pellet production is expected in the first half of calendar year 2014. BHP Billiton President Iron Ore, Ian Ashby, said “Samarco is a low cost supplier of high quality iron ore pellets and over the last several years has been very successful in growing its resource base. This investment builds on its resource and operational strengths and will further improve Samarco’s competitiveness and market position.”
BHP Billiton today announced approval for the Escondida Ore Access project (EOA), the first of a number of development options that will underline Escondida’s status as the world’s premier copper operation. The EOA project will relocate the crushing and conveying facilities currently located inside Escondida’s main pit to improve access to higher grade ore and thereby support higher production from 2013. The project is expected to cost US$554 million (US$319 million BHP Billiton share) and will be completed by mid calendar year 2012.