BHP still committed to exploration

BHP Billiton Head of Geoscience Laura Tyler has told the Citigroup’s Mining Exploration Day in Sydney that it still sees exploration as a key source of value creation.

Haydn Black

It is investing heavily in targeted analysis and the establishment of a Geoscience Centre of Excellence – but it remains to be seen if the gamble will pay off.

Tyler said the company is particularly keen to find new long-life, tier one assets in its petroleum and copper assets, and it is using technology from its petroleum unit and applying directional drilling techniques to copper exploration

The company’s regionally based exploration teams are supported by a globally integrated geoscience team to facilitate a faster adoption of best practice and new technology.

“Internal collaboration is very important and we are leveraging our petroleum business geoscience to identify prospective sediment hosted copper deposit basins, “Tyler said.

She said BHP was investing at a time when most in the sector is continue to reduce discretionary spending.

“Next financial year, we intend to invest approximately $US900 million dollars in exploration, which represents 18% of our overall capital budget.”

Spending at that level is expected to continue until 2017-18.

“We are also challenging existing paradigms with a scientific based and disciplined approach to exploration. We have reduced exploration operating costs by 70% since 2013, and this year we have increased the targets tested by 44%.”

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