Business

BHP Billiton to invest $9.5bn in Australian projects

BHP trucks
Image caption BHP Billiton is trying to meet demand from fast-developing countries like India and China

BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, has said it will expand its Australian iron ore and coal mining projects, as it tries keep up with rising demand in Asia.

The company has approved $9.5bn (£5.9bn) in capital investments, it said in a statement.

The money will be spent on developing mines, rail links and ports in Australia.

BHP said in February that it expects to spend $80bn on development by 2015.

The Anglo-Australian company is the world's biggest producer of coking coal, which is used to make steel.

Its also a major producer of copper, iron ore, nickel and silver.

The company said its iron-ore operations in western Australia will see an investment of $7.4bn, expanding its capacity to more than 220m metric tonnes a year.

Investment will also flow into the Jimblebar mine, rail links and its Port Hedland site.

In the Bowen Basin of central Queensland, the company said more money will be put towards three metallurgical coal projects that will add 4.9m tonnes of capacity annually.

The planned expansions come after multiple failed take-over deals.

Last year BHP's $39bn bid for the Canadian fertiliser giant, Potash Corp, fell through, largely due to regulatory concerns.

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