Chilean regulators charge BHP's Escondida copper mine with water misuse

Chile's environmental watchdog said on Friday it would charge BHP's Escondida copper mine, the world`s largest, with drawing more water from the parched Chilean desert than its permits allowed for nearly 15 years.

The SMA regulator said the mine had caused a sufficiently serious drop in the water table in one area that the violation could result in the revocation of its environmental permit, closure or a fine.

BHP did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the allegation.