Movement in BHP’s ranks as coal chief Ian Maxwell departs

BHP Billiton has made swift executive changes following the resignation of the company’s energy coal president Ian Maxwell yesterday.

"Ian Maxwell is known for the leadership he provided to the minerals exploration group for eight years, including five as its president." The group's chief executive ferrous and coal, Marcus Randolph said.

Randolph added that Maxwell "elected to resign for personal reasons", the Australian reported.

Management at the company’s Olympic Dam project was yesterday reshuffled because of the downgrading of uranium in the company’s short-term growth strategies, BHP said in a statement.

However, Maxwell’s replacement was announced in an internal memo and is said to be Dean Dalla Valle, the current president of the uranium division and former manager of the Olympic Dam project in South Australia.

In August, Australian Mining reported the expansion of the $30 million Olympic Dam project would be indefinitely deferred.

At the time BHP CEO Marius Kloppers said the company was looking for a cheaper alternative to expanding the project.

"As we finalised all the details of the project in the context of current market conditions, our strategy and capital management priorities, it became clear that the right decision for the company and its shareholders was to continue studies to develop a less capital intensive option to replace the underground mine at Olympic Dam," he said.

Since then, the project has been more in then out of the spotlight, in September BHP sought an extension from the SA Government so it can invest more time to plan its Olympic Dam mine expansion.

The Greens attempted to obstruct the Olympic Dam Expansion Indenture, however they were defeated last week in parliament after the Labor and the Liberal parties joined forces to defeat the motion and ratify the 4 year extension.