Where Olympic Dam is concerned, it’s the outlook for the main commodity—uranium—rather than potential investors that it mostly dislikes.
BHP Warms to Partnerships, But Olympic Dam Remains in the Cold WSJ, 10 Dec 13,BHP Billiton Ltd. wants to share the love to get its $10 billion Jansen potash project in Canada off the ground. But the world’s biggest mining company is being a determined single when it comes to another costly development: Australia’s Olympic Dam…….
BHP’s reluctance to seek a partner for an expanded Olympic Dam project in South Australia may surprise as it’s stuck on the back burner, squeezed by low commodity prices and high development costs estimated by analysts at around $30 billion. In August last year, BHP said it would look for a less costly design for the Olympic Dam mine, which had been expected to bring in billions in tax dollars and create thousands of jobs. Up to now, it hasn’t announced any new plans for the site.
At first glance, finding a competitor to share development costs and risks with BHP makes sense. If they also bring in new technology then so much the better.
The problem for BHP is that a partner might actually want to get the project moving, even at a much-reduced scale. That would test BHP’s desire to keep annual spending below $15 billion in future, down by a third from last year’s bill totaling $21.7 billion. With uranium prices continuing to hover near eight-year lows, and several countries debating nuclear power in their energy mix, BHP can avoid such tough decisions by keeping full control of the asset.
“We like partnerships,” Mr Mackenzie told U.S. investors. Where Olympic Dam is concerned, it’s the outlook for the main commodity—uranium—rather than potential investors that it mostly dislikes. http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2013/12/10/bhp-warms-to-partnerships-but-olympic-dam-remains-in-the-cold/