Chilean mining firm Minera Escondida Limitada (MEL) has received a US$600mn loan for the expansion of the world’s largest copper mine.

The loan is co-financed between the Japan bank for International Co-operation (JBIC), which contributed US$420mn, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and BTMU. Mizuho acted as administrative agent on the facility.

Expansion of the Escondida copper mine in the Antofagasta region of Chile will be undertaken by MEL, a company invested in by Mitsubishi Corporation, Nippon Mining and Metals Corporation, Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, BHP Billiton Group and Rio Tinto Group. The financing is expected to increase the production capacity of copper concentrate from the second half of 2015.

According to JBIC, MEL is an important supplier of copper concentrate production to Japanese smelters. The terns of the loan include continuity of supply over the long term for a product with low-level impurities and high copper content.