A copper bonanza seems to be in the cards for mining giants BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) as their co-owned Chilean operation Escondida, the world’s largest producing copper mine, may “substantially” increase total output next year.
The mine, in which BHP holds 57.5% stake and Rio has a 30%, may adopt a new strategy to run three plants, which could increase the miners earnings by 2% to 3% in the next couple of years, Deutsche Bank analysts said in a Monday note, according to MarketWatch.
Delivering its results for the first half of the year ended June 30, BHP had said the Escondida copper, gold and silver mine was on track to produce approximately 1.27Mt of copper in the 2015 financial year.
Escondida provides direct work for more than 2,300 people and another 1,900 full-time jobs through contractor companies. It has also created around 8,000 additional permanent jobs in various productive activities, most of them in Chile’s Second Region, where the mine is located.
The mine plays a key role in the Chilean economy, accounting for about for 2.5% of the country’s gross domestic product. According to Rio Tinto’s website, in 2012 the mine generated 5% of global copper production and around 15% of the South American’s nation output.
Image courtesy of Rio Tinto.