BHP Billiton unveils $9.5bn expansion plan

Marion Dakers
BHP Billiton yesterday revealed details of its $9.5bn (£5.89bn) investment plans for its iron ore and coal operations.

The FTSE 100 miner announced a bigger-than-expected $80bn capital expenditure plan last month, which the firm said would pay for organic growth over the next five years rather than blockbuster acquisitions.

BHP said yesterday its Western Australia iron ore project will be boosted to 220m tonnes per annum by new equipment, a rail link and port facilities costing a total of $7.4bn, of which BHP will shell out $6.6bn.

The firm has also given the green light to three coal projects in Queensland, Australia, at a total cost of $5bn. BHP will pay half of this sum, with its partner Mitsubishi paying the rest.

A $400m thermal coal mine in New South Wales was also approved yesterday.

BHP, which had threatened to withold investment in Australia after the government announced a mining windfall tax, saw its shares gain 1.4 per cent to £23.58 yesterday after concessions to the tax were announced.