BHP expands control over South Australia

BHP Billiton is further consolidating its interest in South Australia, buying five exploration licences around Olmypic Dam and Woomera from Tasman Resources.

The $3 million deal covers over 1,000 square kilometres and adds to further acquisitions made by BHP in the region over the last 12 months.

At the start of this year an unnamed source claimed BHP was looking to get "dominant control" over parts of South Australia, and the company has since snapped up a number of new exploration licences.

But BHP has also indicated uncertainty about the rate of expansion at its massive Olympic Dam project, and some analysts have tipped delays.

Yesterday Opposition leader Tony Abbott said he wanted to do everything possible to ensure the development stayed on track.

Abbott claimed uncertainty about the mining tax extending to cover copper, gold, and uranium was part of the reason for BHP's hesitation on the project.