Back to the drawing board for Olympic Dam expansion

The final fate of BHP Billiton’s (ASX:BHP) Olympic Dam mine expansion remains fraught with uncertainty in the wake of the company’s announcement last week that it was shelving the project due to cost factors.

BHP CEO Marius Kloppers told ABC’s Inside Business on Sunday that the company still considers the Olympic Dam to be a ‘wonderful ore body that is going to be a very major copper mine in due course.’

These remarks stand in sharp contrast to reports by the Australian over the weekend that Kloppers’ had warned the Olympic Dam expansion may never eventuate due to uncertainties surrounding the development of cheaper leaching technology which are needed to render the project cost effective.

Despite his vague affirmation of the final fate of the Olympic Dam expansion, Kloppers told Inside Business that BHP Billiton has no new timetable for the project, and that the company has put ‘this project back all of the way to selection phase study.’

See interview and transcript>>