Copper

A leading global explorer and producer of copper, silver, lead, uranium and zinc.

  • About Copper

    Our Copper business has an excellent portfolio of mining operations with substantial growth opportunities and a number of expansion opportunities — both greenfield (new sites) and brownfield (developments on existing sites).  This is allowing us to expand our production significantly through various projects.

    With a portfolio of large, low-cost mining operations — including the Escondida mine in Chile which is the world's largest single producer of copper — our aim is to become the pre-eminent supplier in copper through capacity expansions, reliable supply and innovative solutions.  We also produce uranium oxide concentrate, lead concentrates and zinc concentrates, and provide base metal concentrates to custom smelters and copper cathodes to rod and brass mills and casting plants.

    We are also focused on exploration.  Our greenfield activities allow us to explore some of the most geologically prospective terrains across a wide array of countries and operating environments.  Our exploration activities include opportunity identification, application for and acquisition of mineral title, early reconnaissance operations to multi-million-dollar delineation drilling programs.​

  • Assets

    Antamina

    Antamina is located in the Andes, North Central Peru and is owned by Compañía Minera Antamina SA, in which BHP Billiton holds a 33.75 per cent interest.  The remaining interests are held by GlencoreXstrata (33.75 per cent), Teck (22.5 per cent) and Mitsubishi (10 per cent). Antamina is the operator of the mine and produces copper and zinc concentrates.

    BHP Billiton Pampa Norte

    Comprises Spence and Cerro Colorado operations:

    Spence (BHP Billiton 100 per cent) is located in the Atacama Desert, in the north of Chile.  It started operations in 2006, incorporating the latest technologies available.  It is an open pit mine, with an associated leaching process, solvents extraction and electro-winning.

    Cerro Colorado (BHP Billiton 100 per cent) is located in northern Chile.  It produces high purity copper cathodes through leaching and electro-winning.

    Escondida

    Minera Escondida (BHP Billiton 57. 5 per cent) is located in the Atacama Desert in the north of Chile.  Escondida produces copper concentrate and copper cathodes.  Escondida mine is the world’s largest copper producer.

    Nickel West, Australia

    Nickel West is a fully integrated mine to market business comprising mines, concentrators, a smelter and refinery. All our Nickel West Operations are in Western Australia and include:

    • Mt Keith - a large, open-cut nickel mine and concentrator.
    • Leinster - two underground nickel mines and concentrator.
    • Kalgoorlie - a nickel concentrator and smelter which produce nickel concentrate and nickel matte.
    • Kwinana - produces nickel metal in the form of London Metal Exchange grade nickel briquettes and nickel powder as well as a range of saleable co-products.

    Olympic Dam

    Located 560 kilometres north of Adelaide, South Australia, Olympic Dam is Australia's largest underground mine, producing copper cathode, uranium oxide concentrate, gold and silver.