MELBOURNE, May 26, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP.AU) Chief Executive Marius Kloppers has told an Australian newspaper that work on the company's planned expansion of the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia state is continuing but that a planned new mining tax does pose a threat to the project.
Kloppers has in the past singled out Olympic Dam as an example of a major project that could be put at risk by the Australian Government's proposed Resource Super Profits Tax, but he told the Adelaide Advertiser that for now work is continuing on the expansion.
"At the moment, it is not frozen," he said.
"We are carrying on. We are spending money, there are 200 engineers working on it. Otherwise we would have made a statement to the contrary."
BHP is currently working on an environmental impact statement for the planned expansion of Olympic Dam, which would see the development of the world's biggest open pit mine and boost copper production capacity to 750,000 metric tons a year from 235,000 tons currently and uranium to 19,000 tons from 4,500 tons currently.
Kloppers said the company is aiming to put the project to the board for approval late in 2011.