Australian news, and some related international items

BHP dumps its plan to expand Olympic Dam uranium mine

BHP shelves $3.7bn expansion plan for Olympic Dam mine in SA for a second time
BHP has shelved a plan to spend $3.7 billion expanding the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine – just months after the colossal project was put on a Federal Government fast-track.    Cameron England, Business Editor, The Advertiser, 19 Oct 20, 

BHP’s $3.7 billion expansion plans for the Olympic Dam mine have been abandoned.

The company had been looking at a Brownfields Expansion Project (BFX) which would have increased production from the current capacity of 200,000 tonnes of copper per year to as much as 300,000.

The project was one of a number of big ticket items earmarked for streamlined approval processes by the Federal Government in June in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has major project status from the State Government……….

It is the second time BHP has scrapped plans for Olympic Dam. In August 2012, the company announced it had shelved its $30 billion expansion and would go back to the drawing board to find a cheaper alternative. Market conditions, subdued commodity prices and higher capital costs led to the decision eight years ago………

 in its quarterly review released this morning, BHP said following more than 400km of underground drilling, which improved the knowledge of the ore body, it had decided to focus on incremental improvements, rather than a step change investment at the site.

“Following more than 400 km of underground drilling associated with the Brownfield Expansion (BFX) project studies, we have improved knowledge of the ore body’s variability,’’ the company said.

“This has provided challenges for the economics of the BFX project, and we have decided the optimal way forward for now is through targeted debottlenecking investments, plant upgrades and modernisation of our infrastructure.’………

BHP said Olympic Dam was performing well, and had posted its best quarterly performance in the past five years in the three months to the end of September.

“Over the next two years, our focus will remain on completing our asset integrity program to underpin more stable operations and copper production of more than 200 ktpa. We have a significant investment program in place to achieve that,’’ Mr Basto said.

“We will continue to study longer-term options for growth. Our enhanced understanding of the underground resources in the Southern Mine Area, promising results from Oak Dam and stronger foundations will help us unlock the full potential of Olympic Dam……..

In August, BHP announced Olympic Dam had made a full year loss before interest and tax of $US79 million, on revenues of $US1.463 billion. That was up from a loss the previous financial year of $US58 million on revenues of $1.351 billion.

October 20, 2020 - Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium

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