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BHP Billiton Approves Misery Open Pit Project at Ekati Diamond Mine


BHP Billiton today announced the approval of the Misery open pit project at its EKATI Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories, Canada. This project consists of a pushback of the existing Misery open pit which was mined from 2001 to 2005. Stripping operations are expected to begin in October 2011, with ore production beginning late 2015 and final production from Misery in mid 2017.

The estimated capital expenditure required to complete the execution phase is US$323 million (BHP Billiton 80% share). Of that amount, US$29 million of pre-commitment capital was approved in 2010 to enable long lead equipment to be brought in on the 2011 winter road.

“Since it started production in 1998, EKATI has been a cornerstone of the economy of the Northwest Territories and has contributed enormously to local communities,” said Graham Kerr, President of BHP Billiton Diamonds and Specialty Products. “With the approval of the Misery project, we are able to continue to make the most of the resources at EKATI and also continue our proud legacy,” he added.

Since EKATI has been in operation, about 81% of the mine’s budget has been spent with Northern suppliers and the mine also supports and develops Northern communities through Socio-Economic and Impact Benefit Agreements, employment and Community Investment programs.

Competent Person: Duncan Tyler (MAusIMM CP # 990573)

Competent Person’s Statement

The statement of Ore Reserve being presented is based on information compiled by the above named Competent Person and relates to Mineral Resource estimates as at November 2010. Competent Persons are full time employees of BHP Billiton (unless otherwise stated), have sufficient experience relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity they are undertaking to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the JORC Code. All Competent Persons are members of either the Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy (AusIMM) or a Recognised Overseas Professional Organisation (ROPO). The Competent Persons consent to the inclusion in this report of the matters based on their information in the form and context in which it appears.


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