Minerals Americas

The Minerals Americas asset group includes projects, operated and non-operated assets in Canada, Chile, Peru, United States, Colombia and Brazil. Our assets and projects focus on copper, zinc, iron ore, coal and potash

Minerals Americas

Copper assets

Escondida (Chile)

BHP Billiton owns 57.5 per cent of, and operates, the Escondida mine which is a leading producer of copper. Escondida, located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, is a copper porphyry deposit that also produces gold and silver. Its two open-cut pits currently feed two concentrator plants which use grinding and flotation technologies to produce copper concentrate, as well as two leaching operations (oxide and sulphide). 

Escondida celebrated 25 years of operation during FY2016, having processed more than two billion tonnes of ore through leaching (solvent extraction and electrowinning) and flotation.

Pampa Norte (Chile)

Pampa Norte consists of two wholly owned operations in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile – Spence and Cerro Colorado. During FY2016, Spence and Cerro Colorado produced 174 kt and 77 kt, respectively, of high-quality copper cathode, using oxide and sulphide ore treatment through leaching, solvent extraction and electrowinning processes.

Antamina (Peru)

BHP Billiton owns 33.75 per cent of Antamina, a large, low-cost copper and zinc mine in north central Peru. Our share of Antamina’s total production for FY2016 was 146 kt of copper concentrate and 55 kt of zinc concentrate. Antamina by-products include molybdenum and lead/bismuth concentrate and small amounts of silver.

Iron ore assets

Samarco (Brazil)

Each of BHP Billiton Brasil and Vale holds a 50 per cent shareholding in Samarco Mineracao S.A. (Samarco), which operates the Samarco iron ore operation in Brazil. As a result of the tragic dam failure at Samarco in November 2015, operations at Samarco are currently suspended. For further information on the Samarco dam failure, refer to section 1.4 of our 2016 Annual Report. Samarco comprises a mine and three concentrators located in the state of Minas Gerais, and four pellet plants and a port located in Anchieta in the state of Espirito Santo. Three 400-kilometre pipelines connect the mine site to the pelletising facilities. 

More information on Samarco

Coal assets

New Mexico Coal (United States)

New Mexico Coal consists of the Navajo mine, which is located on Navajo Nation land in the US state of New Mexico. Full ownership of the Navajo Coal Company was transferred to the Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC), an entity of the Navajo Nation, effective 30 December 2013.

New Mexico Coal and NTEC entered into a Mine Management Agreement whereby New Mexico Coal will continue as mine operator. The sale of the Navajo mine was completed in July 2016; however, BHP Billiton will continue to manage and operate the mine until the Mine Management Agreement ends on 31 December 2016.

Cerrejón (Colombia)

BHP Billiton has a one-third interest in Cerrejon, which owns,operates and markets one of the world’s largest open-cut export energy coal mines, located in the La Guajira province of Colombia. Cerrejon also owns and operates integrated rail and port facilities through which the majority of production is exported to European, Asian, North and South American customers. 

In FY2016, our share of production was approximately 10.1 Mt.


Jansen Potash Project (Canada)

BHP Billiton holds mineral rights in the province of Saskatchewan,Canada. We believe Jansen is one of the world’s best undeveloped potash projects. Our footprint is substantial and we believe we have an ideal position within this basin. The Jansen Potash Project is about 140 kilometres east of Saskatoon. The Jansen Project is led by Dean Dalla Valle, Chief Commercial Officer.


Daniel Malchuk, President Operations, Minerals Americas