BHP Billiton is looking for ways to shore up power supply and bring down power costs at its Olympic Dam copper mine in Australia, as it plans to expand following a string of electrical outages, the mine's head said on Friday.
Olympic Dam open-pit mine Mining News
Red metal production at the copper-uranium mine is expected to hit around 230,000 tonnes by 2021, but there is potential for up to 450,000 tonnes per year.
BHP wants find a way to up output for the industrial metal from its Olympic Dam by 40% even before a proposed and long-awaited mega-expansion of the operation takes place.
A study commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia shows the economic benefit from the sector could increase tenfold to $9.5 billion.
The cuts represent 14% of what was once a 4,300 workforce.
The cuts at the Adelaide support office for the Olympic Dam operations come about six months after BHP scrapped about 90 permanent positions and 210 contractor jobs.
The decision caps off a dreadful month for South Australia’s mining sector.
The miner blamed low metals prices and productivity inefficiencies for the decision.
The company revealed it will take four years to trial a processing method it hopes will help make the expansion profitable.
South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill, has reproached the federal government for saying BHP could resume its Olympic Dam expansion within months, calling it a "cruel hoax."
CEO Andrew Mackenzie expects to have something to say about the expansion "within a year.”
The giant miner is struggling to keep its massive Olympic Dam project competitive in the current environment.
BHP Billiton, the world's number one miner, has put its $30 billion Olympic Dam copper-uranium expansion back in the spotlight by asking South Australia state for a 46-month extension for the project.
The world's number one miner, BHP Billiton, has delayed its $30 billion Olympic Dam copper-uranium expansion and said no major projects would be approved until June 2013 as it tries cutting costs.
BHP Billiton addressed shareholder concerns about its ambitious investment plans in four mega-projects on Wednesday saying it will match capital expenditures closely with cash flows and stagger the project pipeline.
South Australia’s mineral resources and energy minister, Tom Koutsantonis, said he was confident BHP Billiton will proceed with developing the uranium Olympic Dam open-pit mine, despite the project will cost billions of dollars, reports Reuters.