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Fortescue Metals Group is exploring South Australia for copper, gold, and uranium in an effort to diversify beyond its Pilbara iron ore business.
According to PerthNow FMG has applied for 10 exploration licences covering around 4,600sqkm of land mostly through central SA.
The bulk of the new tenements are between the OZ Minerals Prominent Hill copper-gold mine and BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam project.
The region is busy with exploration applications, with BHP also scouring neighboring operations and deposits around Olympic Dam.
BHP bought several exploration tenements near Olympic Dam from Archer Exploration last year for $3 million.
FMG has previously established a coal exploration team in Queensland and New Zealand and has also expressed an interest in being involved in coal projects in Mongolia.
The company’s efforts at diversifying are aimed at protecting it from any decrease in the iron ore price, and making it a true competitor of its diversified rivals BHP and Rio Tinto.
A spokesperson for FMG yesterday told PerthNow the company’s focus remained on its Pilbara operations, and would not propose a timeline for the SA exploration.
"Fortescue has built a global mining house based on securing early land positions in prospective regions, so where opportunities exist to assess and secure highly prospective, early stage exploration tenements we will do so,” they said.