Australian mining giants targeting new projects in Ecuador

Australian mining giants targeting new projects in Ecuador

Two of Australia’s largest miners, BHP Billiton and Hancock Prospecting have held talks over potentially initiating mining and exploration projects in Ecuador, according to the nation’s government.

Ecuador’s Mining Minister Javier Cordova Unda said both firms have had discussions with national officials on the prospects of making investments or securing exploration leases. He added that he had met with BHP personally.

BHP, the world’s largest miner, has registered an interest in a number of Ecuadorian copper projects, including a possible partnership with state-owned miner Enami and Chile’s Codelco in their jointly-owned Llurimagua copper and molybdenum project, Cordova said.

Fortescue Metals Group is another of Australia’s mining giants who could be targeting Ecuador with chairman Andrew Forrest reportedly visiting the country to discuss potential exploration with Vice President Jorge Glas, Ecuador’s Ambassador to Australia Raul Gangotena said.

While Hancock, owned by Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart, has held meetings in the South American country four times in the past year.