BHP Billiton spokesperson Amanda Buckley said that the $20 billion Olympic Dam expansion plans remained on track with the original time table. The statement was made after a newspaper report said that the project may be delayed due to environmental assessment and costs.
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The South Australian government opposition had been briefed on the project about two weeks ago. The state's opposition mining spokesman Mitch Williams felt that the mining giant was still committed but the timing was the key question.
The significant increase in the required capital due to the recent softening of prices for the Olympic Dam's key minerals, especially uranium is said to be holding BHP Billiton back. The planned expansion could triple the annual copper production to 730,000 tonnes and quadruple the uranium production to 19,000 tonnes over 11 years.