Thursday, 06 December 2012 13:32
Copper is in vogue and uranium not, with BHP Billiton moving responsibility for the Olympic Dam mine to its base metals group, to reflect shifting priorities.
The announcement follows the mining giant's decision in August to shelve plans for a $28.7 billion ($US30 billion) expansion of the project, which includes the world's largest known uranium reserve.
The head of the mine was previously BHP uranium chief Dean Dalla Valle, who has been transferred to the energy coal division.
Darryl Cuzzubbo will now take responsibility for the mine and BHP in South Australia, reporting to Chile-based base metals president Peter Beaven and non ferrous head Andrew Mackenzie.
Copper is one of BHP's so-called five core commodities, with demand from emerging economies expected to grow, hence the plans to increase copper production at Olympic Dam's open-pit mine despite the shelved expansion plans.
Uranium is still part of the mix for BHP, but is not a core commodity, with it selling the Yeelirrie uranium asset in WA to Cameco Corporation this year along with other tenements.
The company's shares were up 35 cents, or 1.02 per cent, to $34.64 at 9.45am.
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