Uncertain future for Olympic Dam

Some analysts have hinted BHP Billiton may push back its massive expansions at Olympic Dam, and the company has refused to provide certainty on its plans.

Any delay poses a significant risk to the future of the $25 billion development, with SA Premier Jay Weatherill warning the company will lose Government approvals if it does not make a decision before the end of year.

Adelaide Now reports BHP uranium president Dean Dalla Valle has moved to allay fears over the project.

"I'm sure it's only going to be temporary but at the moment BHP's copping it from some of its major shareholders who are saying they're thinking too far into the future," he said.

Earlier this month BHP chairman Jacques Nasser told Australian Mining the company was starting to reconsider some of its expansions, and industrial action in the Bowen Basin was also hurting its bottom line.

The Australian reports Dalla Valle said BHP was "looking for a decision before the end of the year" on whether to delay Olympic Dam.

According to The Australian SA mineral resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis said he was prepared to grant BHP an extension to approvals on Olympic Dam but would only do so if commodity prices fell.

"I will not grant BHP an extension just because they may want one," he said.

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