28 Mar 2011

BHP to expand Australian operations

7:28 pm on 28 March 2011

BHP Billiton is to expand its iron ore and coal mining projects in Australia.

The company said it had approved $US9.5 billion in capital investment, which will be spent on developing mines, rail links and ports there.

BHP said in February that it expects to spend $US80 billion on development by 2015.

The Anglo-Australian company is the world's biggest producer of coking coal, which is used to make steel. The BBC reports it is also a major producer of copper, iron ore, nickel and silver.

The company said its iron-ore operations in Western Australia would result in an investment of $US7.4 billion, expanding its capacity to more than 220 million metric tonnes a year.

Investment will also flow into the Jimblebar mine, rail links and its Port Hedland site.

The company also said more money would be put towards three metallurgical coal projects in the Bowen Basin of central Queensland. They would add 4.9 million tonnes of capacity annually.