BHP’s Jimblebar iron ore mine opening cancelled due to airport closure

BHP’s Jimblebar iron ore mine opening cancelled due to airport closureWorld number one miner BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE: BHP) has been forced to postpone its $3.2 billion Jimblebar mine expansion opening amid unsafe tarmac conditions at the busy Pilbara airport.

With summer around the corner in the Southern hemisphere, soaring temperatures have caused the landing strip too sticky for plane safety, leading to the airport closure.

"Though regrettable, the cancellation does not detract from the significant achievement of the opening of our newest mine, particularly the delivery of first ore six months ahead of the original schedule,” BHP said in a statement.

A company spokeswoman said BHP had not decided if it would reschedule an official opening event but it would not be held in the short term.

The Jimblebar mine, located in the iron-ore rich Pilbara region of Western Australia, has an initial annual production capacity of 35 million tonnes of iron ore and is a key part of BHP's plans to lift capacity from its Pilbara operations to 220 million tonnes a year.