Rio Tinto has a 30 per cent interest in Escondida, which is managed by BHP Billiton. Our seats on the Owners' Council allow us regular input on strategic and policy matters.
The Minera Escondida copper mine in Chile’s Atacama Desert is the world’s largest copper-producing mine. In 2012 it accounted for five per cent of global copper production and around 15 per cent of Chilean copper production. Escondida produces copper concentrate, through a flotation process of sulphide ore, and copper cathodes, using a leaching process of oxide and sulphide ore.
The development, start-up, and successive stages of expansion of the company are the result of technical capacity, the application of advanced technologies and, above all, the vision and vocation of committed people.
Escondida provides direct work for more than 2,300 people and another 1,900 full-time jobs through contractor companies. Around 8,000 further permanent jobs in various productive activities have also been created by the mine, especially in Chile’s Second Region, where the mine is located. Escondida plays a key role in the Chilean economy. It accounts for 2.5 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.