Australia’s BHP Billiton to reduce scope of titanium mining project in Mozambique

26 February 2007

London, United Kingdom, 26 Feb – Australian mining company BHP Billiton plans to reduce its titanium mining project in Chibuto, in the Mozambican province of Gaza, due to increased mining costs, one of the company’s board members said in London Friday.

Alberto Calderon, president of the diamond and specialty products unit of the company, said that in 2008, a new feasibility study would be carried out for the project.

The rise in mining cots, he said, was related to the rise in power prices and services associated to the industry, as well as the increase value of the South African rand.

The price of titanium on the international market has not accompanied the rise in cost of mining it, making titanium a less attractive investment, Calderon said.

BHP inherited the project from Australia’s WMC Resources, a company which it acquired in 2005.

The initial project, from 2002, outlined a mine and foundry at a total investment of around US$1 billion.

BHP now plans to transport the titanium to the Mozal foundry in Matola (on the outskirts of Maputo), of which it is a shareholder.

BHP Billiton is the world’s largest mining company and was also a shareholder in the Moma heavy minerals project, in Nampula province, but sold its stake in the project to Ireland’s Kenmare Resources. (macauhub)