BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and partners on Friday announced US$12.8 billion ($12.53 billion) worth of new investments in Australian mining projects.
The mining giant revealed plans for a US$7.4 billion capital investment in its Western Australian iron ore operations. BHP will invest US$6.6 billion of this total, with the rest set to come from Itochu Minerals & Energy of Australia, Mitsui-Itochu Iron and Mitsui Iron ore.
The investment includes US$3.4 billion to for mine and rail equipment, US$2.3 billion to further develop its Port Hedland site, and $1.7 billion for port blending facilities and rail yards to enable blending of the resulting ore.
BHP has also approved a US$5 billion investment in three metallurgical coal projects in the Bowen Basin. The company will provide half this, and its 50:50 partner in the operations, Mitsubishi Development, will kick in the remainder.
This investment again covers rail links, mining equipment and blending facilities.
The final US$400 million will go towards developing BHP's 100%-owned Hunter Valley Energy Coal project. BHP said it expects its planned expansion to increase production by 4 million tonnes to 24 million tonnes per year.
The first production from the expanded project is expected during the second half of calendar 2013, BHP said.
BHP shares fell 0.07% on Friday to $44.680, during a day in which the energy, industrials and all other market sectors registered overall gains.
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