BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, JECO, and JECO 2 Ltd.
BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, JECO, and JECO2 Minera Escondida Copper Mine
Fluor delivered multiple projects at the Escondida mine, 3,200 meters above sea level in the Chilean Andes Mountains.
Escondida, operated by BHP Billiton, was the birthplace of large-scale mining projects for Fluor in Chile and a major portion of its history in South America. During that period, Fluor provided studies; engineering, procurement, construction management; and technical services to the owners of the world’s largest copper producing mine.
Minera Escondida is an example of Fluor’s global leadership in executing large-scale, complex projects in remote parts of the world.
The first Fluor project at Minera Escondida commenced in 1986, and subsequent projects were valued at more than $2 billion in capital investment. Fluor built the original Escondida copper concentrator plant and all support infrastructure, including the Coloso port near the city of Antofagasta. Escondida commenced production in mid-1990.
Escondida, operated by BHP Billiton, later awarded Fluor a series of large expansion projects and new standalone projects that comprise the huge complex and the port facility. All the projects were delivered to established project baselines, and Chilean and / or industry-wide safety records were achieved on each one of them.
The massive plant to produce copper cathodes through an oxide leaching, solvent extraction and electrowinning process was the first Fluor Mining & Minerals recipient of Fluor’s prestigious Hugh Coble Project Excellence Award. The award is based on outstanding performance in several areas; including safety, value creation, and Client and community relations.
Minera Escondida is owned by BHP Billiton (57.5%), Rio Tinto (30%), JECO Corporation (10%), and JECO2 LTD (2.5%).
BHP Billiton operates Escondida and is the world’s largest natural resources company, with head offices in Australia. It is organized as nine divisions: petroleum, aluminum, base metals, metallurgical coal, iron ore, manganese, diamonds and specialized products, energy coal, and stainless steel materials, which together total around 100 operations, in addition to the corporate offices on each continent. One of these divisions, Base Metals, has its headquarters in Chile. BHP Billiton has been the major shareholder and operator of Escondida since before operations began.
Rio Tinto, a company of British origin, is one of the largest natural resources companies in the world. It operates eight divisions: iron ore, energy, industrial minerals, aluminum, copper, diamonds, technology, and exploration. Rio Tinto is involved in more than 60 operations in various countries.
JECO Corporation and JECO 2 LTD are two Japanese consortiums that are formed by Mitsubishi Corporation, JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corporation, and Mitsubishi Materials Corporation. Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) is Japan's largest general trading company with over 200 bases of operations in approximately 80 countries worldwide.
Fluor is proud of its long history at Minera Escondida during which projects worth over $2 billion have been designed and constructed for the mine. The grassroots copper concentrator (Phase 0) was followed by expansion projects throughout the years that increased capacity of the mine and introduced new technologies to improve operational efficiency. A Fluor subsidiary continued to contribute to mining operations. Many leaders in the mining engineering and construction industry have honed their skills on these Fluor projects, and the projects have helped Minera Escondida owners to increase mine production to the highest in the world.
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