North Australia Digest – 4/9/12

Here is a digest of today’s major stories that impact North Australia:
The Australian Financial Review
A plunge in the prices of Australia’s export commodities as well as high labour and construction costs will stall $100 billion of mining and energy projects, as companies ­scramble to reassess their long-term investment pipelines.
BHP Billiton has not asked the South Australian government for an extension on the agreement covering royalties for the $US20 billion-plus Olympic Dam expansion, amid expectations it could take years for the miner to finalise a viable new development plan.
The Australian
Engineering contractors are continuing to fill their order books on the strength of the committed expansion plans of the Pilbara iron ore producers despite the free fall in prices since April.
BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers presented a bleak outlook for an expanded Olympic Dam mine ever operating in South Australia.
The Age
Miners are spending less searching for minerals for the first time since the global financial crisis. The ABS yesterday said spending on exploration in the June quarter fell by $53 million to $1.02 billion after hitting a record high in March.
Herald Sun
BHP Billiton chief Marius Kloppers has declared the group will “work with undiminished vigour” to extend Olympic Dam despite spiking its colossal expansion plan.
Courier Mail
BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers has reassured South Australians the company is not walking away from the Olympic Dam mine project.

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