It was a dangling sword just about waiting to fall.
As expected, with the suspension of the planned $30 billion expansion plan on the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine mega project comes the inevitable downsizing of jobs related to the project.
In a statement, BHP Billiton has confirmed that some 140 job posts will be affected by the project deferment.
"Following our announcement on the Olympic Dam project we have determined that the new project team to investigate an alternative less capital-intensive design of the open-pit expansion will comprise approximately 50 positions," the company said.
The project team, tasked to work on creating a huge open-pit mine as well as a desalination plant, expanded airport and other infrastructure running together with the existing underground operation, currently employs 190 people, most of whom are within the Adelaide office.
The staff would be considered either for redeployment in South Australia or within other BHP Billiton Customer Sector Groups nationwide, the global mining company said.
Last week, in what seemed to be a long anticipated announcement, the Melbourne-based Anglo-Australian giant miner finally confirmed it is suspending all plans on the supposed expansion of the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine mega project. Pending the deferment, BHP Billiton said it would work on revising earlier approved plans and designs to scale lower the estimated $30 billion for the project.
The company, however, did not provide a specific timeframe when it will carry out the revised expansion plan.
Had BHP Billiton pushed through with the expansion, some 6,000 workers would have been needed during the construction of the 4km long, 3.5km wide and 1km deep mine.