BHP strengthens presence in South Australia

BHP Billiton has further strengthened its control over mining assets in South Australia by snapping up new exploration licences from junior explorer Copper Range Limited.

In a statement BHP said it had bought four exploration licences and five exploration licence applications for a total $3 million.

The move is the latest in a number of acquisitions by BHP around Olympic Dam.

Earlier this month it paid Tasman Resources $3 million to buy the rights to a further 1,000 square kilometres around Olympic Dam.

Both acquisitions follow a statement by an unnamed source in January that BHP was looking to get "dominant control" over parts of SA.

In a statement BHP said the most recent sale was made after a change in plans by Copper Range.

"Copper Range has been reviewing its position in the Olympic Domain particularly following the withdrawal of its Joint Venture partner Barrick Gold of Australia Limited," it said.

"A detailed review of previous exploration completed by Copper Range and others on the Olympic Domain Project revealed a number of gravity and/or magnetic targets that were either untested or not definitively tested."

"Following this review the company concluded that although the tenements contain several targets they are believed to be deep and relatively high risk."

"As such the Company concluded that the offer from BHP Billiton represents fair market value."

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