Greens move to halt BHP Olympic Dam extension

The Greens have announced they will move to stop any extension on the Olympic Dam Expansion Indenture Agreement after the South Australian Government granted BHP Billiton four more years to finalise the project.

The Greens have announced they will move to stop any extension on the Olympic Dam Expansion Indenture Agreement after the South Australian Government granted BHP Billiton four more years to finalise the project.

As Australian Mining reported yesterday, the government granted the miner a four year extension to October 2016, so it can invest more time to plan its Olympic Dam expansion plans.

Greens leader Mark Parnell questioned the government’s decision asking why BHP were given "four more years for a dud project?"

“Instead of again meekly accepting whatever the world’s richest resource company wants, the Government should seize the opportunity to start renegotiating terms to expand local procurement, increase royalty returns and improve environmental outcomes,” Parnell said in a statement.

Parnell accused the company of ‘moving further and further way from job-rich local processing’  and wants to see a final contract for the expansion when BHP Billiton can guarantee the project will begin.

“Surely it would be better to finalise the Olympic Dam Expansion contract with BHP Billiton when the project is actually guaranteed to begin? 

“That will ensure royalty rates, local processing and procurement targets and environmental conditions are based on the expectations, rules and operating conditions of the day, not locked in years ahead,” he said.

In announcing the extension yesterday, BHP CEO Marius Kloppers said that while the company was eager to approve the redevelopment of Olympic Dam, he could not guarantee it.

"We can unfortunately make no commitment, “he said.

BHP cancelled its $US20 billion expansion plans in August, blaming weak commodity prices and rising costs.
In announcing the cutback BHP said it was looking at a different plan "involving new technologies" to make the project cheaper.

BHP Billiton has agreed to spend $650 million during the next research phase of the project, $110 million of which has been earmarked for community-related activities.

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