Cop­per min­ing firm to ex­plore Ecuador

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

MEL­BOURNE, Aus­tralia — Bro­ken Hill Pro­pri­etary Bil­li­ton Ltd., the world’s big­gest miner, has opened an of­fice and is seek­ing to add staff in Ecuador as it ad­vances a search for cop­per in a na­tion that’s be­com­ing the sec­tor’s ex­plo­ration hot spot.

The Mel­bourne-based com­pany’s Ecuadorean unit will spend about $82 mil­lion on ex­plo­ration. Cerro Que­brado — Span­ish for “Bro­ken Hill” — has es­tab­lished a base in the cap­i­tal, Quito, and advertised for work­ers in­clud­ing a se­nior ge­ol­o­gist. The value of Ecuador’s min­ing sec­tor could rise to $7.9 bil­lion by 2021 from $1.1 bil­lion this year as ma­jor play­ers ar­rive, ac­cord­ing to Fitch Group’s BMI Re­search.

Bro­ken Hill Pro­pri­etary joins Aus­tralian com­peti­tors in­clud­ing bil­lion­aire Gina Rine­hart’s Han­cock Prospect­ing Pro­pri­etary Ltd., Fortes­cue Met­als Group Ltd. and Newcrest Min­ing Ltd. in es­tab­lish­ing of­fices or adding ex­plo­ration li­censes in the na­tion, ac­cord­ing to Ro­drigo Izuri­eta, pres­i­dent of Ecuador’s Min­ing Cham­ber. The min­ers are at­tracted by ex­pec­ta­tions that the coun­try holds ma­jor undis­cov­ered cop­per and gold de­posits, and as­sur­ances that newly in­stalled Pres­i­dent Lenin Moreno will con­tinue ef­forts to woo in­vest­ment, Izuri­eta said.

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