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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: North America: October 27th 2003


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:: BHPB Pulls the Plug Mothballed Arizona Plant

BHP Billiton has decided to permanently close the San Manuel copper smelting and refining facilities in Arizona after more than four years on care and maintenance.

The facilities were placed into care and maintenance in May 1999 and have been idle since that time. BHPB said it explored a number of options for the facilities but none have led to a viable economic outcome.

This marks the end of 50 years of mining and smelting activity in the San Manuel region, however BHPB has assured that the transition to full closure would not result in a significant reduction in manpower, with the current workforce less than 40 strong.

BHP Copper president Ben Wichers said transitioning of the plant site to closure would enable the company to implement a comprehensive approach to both the mine site, closed in January 2002, and the plant site.

"The company's continuing commitment to the protection of the environment and safety will be central to the closure process for these historic sites," Wichers said.

"The decommissioning and reclamation of the sites will be completed over the next five to seven years in cooperation with the appropriate regulatory agencies.




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