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BHP Billiton to Spend $15b to Increase Copper and Uranium Production at Olympic Dam

BHP Billiton is planning on spending $ 15 billion on the planned expansion of the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine. The expansion will take place in three or more phases of expansion, each costing about $ 5.2 billion. Each phase completed will improve the production by 200,000 tonnes of copper per year. A final decision on the pending investment will be taken in 2011.

BHP Billiton is hoping to triple its current annual copper production capability with the help of this and other expansions. They hope to produce 730,000 tonnes of copper which is three times the present annual production in the next 11 years using the world’s fourth largest copper lode.

There are also plans for BHP Billiton to take its uranium production capacity to more than four times the current annual production. In the next 11 years they hope to produce 19,000 tonnes of uranium.

The environmental impact assessment of the project will be submitted later this year. The decision of the two state governments and Canberra is expected to come through by the mid of 2011.

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