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Report: BHP in talks with Mitsui, Grupo Cobra for US$800M Spence plant

BHP Billiton Group selected a consortium of Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Grupo Cobra for exclusive talks to build an US$800 million desalination plant at its Spence copper mine in Chile, Reuters reported Aug. 10, citing two unnamed sources.

The news indicates that the mining giant is moving forward with its proposed US$2.5 billion expansion at Spence, a development which has been on hold for years.

Chile's Environmental Evaluation Service approved the expansion project in mid-July, according to a separate report. The expansion will include the construction of a concentrator to ramp up output and increase the mine life by 20 years.