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BHP's Escondida copper mine secures US$500M loan from Japanese lenders

BHP Billiton Group's 57.50%-owned Minera Escondida Ltda., which operates the Escondida copper mine in Chile, secured loans of US$500 million from a group of Japanese lenders.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation said June 8 that it signed a loan agreement with Minera Escondida for up to US$300 million for funding expansion of the mine.

The loan is co-financed with The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Mizuho Bank Ltd. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. for an overall amount of US$500 million.

The loan is expected to increase the mine's production capacity of copper concentrate from the second half.

Minera Escondida is also 30% owned by Rio Tinto, 8.25% by Mitsubishi Corp., 3% by JX Nippon Mining Metals Corp. and 1.25% by Mitsubishi Materials Corp.