BHP Billiton No Longer Interested to Purchase Exploration Rights Near Olympic Dam – Tasman

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | September 10, 2012 4:05 PM EST

After its earth-shaking announcement in August that it is scraping its $30 billion expansion plans into the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine mega project in South Australia, BHP Billiton has consequently dropped related purchases of exploration rights surrounding the area of the dam.

Junior explorer Tasman Resources Ltd. on Monday told shareholders the global mining giant has extended a notice stating it is withdrawing from the two conditional contracts that would have paved the way to acquire six exploration tenements in the Stuart Shelf region of South Australia.

First announced in June 2012, the five exploration licences and one licence application for the Stuart Shelf region, which hosts the Olympic Dam deposit, cost $3 million. It involves 1,176 square kilometres west, north and northeast of the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine project. 

"After further reviewing our completed tenement acquisitions in the Stuart Shelf combined with the recent grant of some additional exploration license applications, the company is satisfied with its existing exploration options in the region and chose not to proceed with the purchase of Tasman's tenements," The Australian quoted an unidentified BHP spokesman as saying.

"This decision is independent of Olympic Dam's future development path."

In June, BHP Billiton said the purchases of the six exploration tenements was part of its long-term development plans and strategy, noting it believed there are potential for additional iron oxide, copper, gold discoveries in the Stuart Shelf region.

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