July 11, 2010 / 11:05 PM / in 7 years

BHP Billiton may delay Olympic Dam expansion-report

SYDNEY, July 12 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) $20 billion Olympic Dam expansion in Australia may be delayed by a protracted environmental assessment and cost, the Australian Financial Review reported on Monday.

The recent softening prices for Olympic Dam’s key minerals especially Uranium, and a significant increase in the required capital is also understood to be weighing on BHP, the paper said.

BHP briefed the South Australian government opposition on the project two weeks ago and an opposition mining spokesman Mitch Williams said he believed the miner was still committed but the timing was the key question.

A BHP spokeswoman could not be immediately reached for comment.

BHP Billiton has been studying a proposal that would lift annual production at the world’s fourth-largest copper deposit to 730,000 tonnes of copper and 19,000 tonnes of uranium. (Reporting by Narayanan Somasundaram; Editing by Ed Davies)

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