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Contractor Dies During Construction to Restart Pinto Valley Mine in Arizona

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A contractor working for Australian mining giant BHP Billiton was killed on Sept. 22 at the Pinto Valley Mine, about 5 miles west of Globe, Ariz. Operations at the site were immediately stopped at the mine, which is undergoing a $195-million construction project to restart the mine.

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BHP officials said in a statement that an investigation into the fatality is continuing and the firm is cooperating fully with the authorities.

The company acquired the mine in 1996 after it purchased Magma Copper Co. When copper prices plunged not long after the purchase, Pinto Valley Mine was put on standby.

BHP was scheduled to restart copper mining operations at Pinto Valley by the end of 2012, but it’s unclear if this incident will delay those plans. The mine is expected to produce 60,000 tons of copper and sustain 650 new jobs.

A BHP representative was contacted, but would not specify how the worker died.

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