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Chile's Escondida copper mine looks to counteract falling ore grades

BHP Billiton Group's majority-owned copper mine in Chilesaid it is looking to counter falling ore grades and boost production through anew US$4.2 billion concentrator and a US$3.0 billion water desalination plant,Reuters wrote April 8.

The new concentrator will be the mine'sthird; Escondida's first concentrator was halted in February for renovationwork and other adjustments and is expected to be back in operation from July2017. Once all three concentrators are operating, Escondida is expected toproduce about 1.2 million tonnes of copper annually for the next decade.

Meanwhile, the second water desalinationplant is expected to be ready in 2017.

The Escondida mine is said to be the world'sbiggest copper mine and is operated by Minera Escondida Ltda.