Don Argus,
Chairman,
BHP Billiton
 
Brisbane, Australia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 30 November 2009 – Global resources giant BHP Billiton says it plans to invest about US$10 billion (R75 billion) in capital and exploration expenditure during the 2010 financial year.

Addressing the group annual general meeting here, BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus said that this was after the group’s cash flow and balance sheet strength had enabled it to continue to invest US$11billion (R82.5 billion) – or over US30 million (R225 million) a day – in capital and exploration programmes in the 2009 financial year.

“And this at a time when many of our competitors were cutting back their investments," Argus said.

Over the last year the group had approved four growth projects worth US$5.9 billion (R44.25 billion), bringing its pipeline of projects currently in execution to about US$14billion (R105 billion).

Miningmx.com reports that BHP Billiton’s Western Australia iron ore production joint venture with Rio Tinto will also see the group invest a further US$5.8 billion (R43.5 billion) beyond the already sanctioned projects. This comes as the group anticipates a rebound in demand on the back of a recovering global economy.

“Over the past six months we have seen quite a rebound in commodity prices, and in particular, the velocity of the recovery in China has indeed been surprising,” said BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers.

But he cautioned: “Even though market sentiment has improved since I spoke at our London AGM a month ago, we continue to believe that we will come out of this recession less strongly than in previous cycles.”

He pointed out that while spot prices for its commodities had increased by up to 90% from the absolute lows of the year, commodity prices at the end of its financial year were still generally 20% to 60% lower than at the start of the year.