BHP Billiton has announced a pre-commitment spending package of $1.2 billion for the first phase of the Olympic Dam Project to develop an open pit mine in northern South Australia.


The funding will facilitate the procurement of long lead items such as trucks and accommodation, infrastructure development and early site works for the first phase of the Olympic Dam Project.


The spending is conditional on the successful passage of the Indenture agreement currently before the South Australian Parliament.


The first phase of the Olympic Dam Project is currently in feasibility and its progression into execution remains dependant on the completion of all required studies and Board approval, which is likely to be sought by mid next calendar year.


“Given the quality of this resource, the Olympic Dam Project team is completing studies to create one of the world’s largest open pit mines with the potential to increase copper production from around 180,000 tonnes per annum to 750,000 tonnes per annum and beyond,” BHP Billiton Chief Executive Officer, Marius Kloppers, said.


The announcement comes under a week after the Federal and South Australia granted the plans environmental approval.