Australian news, and some related international items

South Australian govt and BHP Billiton gloomy about the future of Olympic Dam uranium mine

Kloppers’ bleak Olympic hopes by: Michael Owen, The Australian September 04,  A BLEAK outlook has been presented by BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers for an expanded Olympic Dam mine ever operating in South Australia.

Mr Kloppers yesterday held talks with Premier Jay Weatherill in Adelaide to explain why the miner’s board last month indefinitely shelved the $28.7 billion project. He emerged from the hour-long meeting to say there was no timeframe for the project and no guarantee it would ever go ahead.

This came more than a week after The Weekend Australian revealed that Mr Kloppers had warned the expansion might never happen because the project was now dependent on the uncertain development of cheaper “leaching” technology to expand the mine’s future production. He had said that unlike “optimistic” scientists, the miner was “insufficiently certain that an eventual project will happen”. Mr Kloppers reiterated that message yesterday after meeting with the Premier. “We have been working and expending a lot of money on trying to make this project a reality,” Mr Kloppers said…… “I can’t give you any timeframe on how these things could progress.”

Asked if he could give a guarantee the mine would be redeveloped, he said: “No, I cannot.”

Mr Weatherill tried to maintain a positive message, but conceded the current model planned for the expansion “does not work”..  they are not able to advance a time when the technology will be proven, nor are they able to give us certainty about whether the technology will be capable of being proven, and therefore they will not be in a position to give us certainty about when the mine proceeds.”…

Mr Weatherill said that after his meeting yesterday, any future expansion was even further away than he had previously thought……

The opposition said all of the government’s tough-talking about BHP meeting its December deadline to go-ahead with the expansion and the project’s benefits for the state, had proven to be “bluff and bluster”.


September 4, 2012 - Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium

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