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BHP Billiton profit slumps


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BHP Billiton profit slumps

Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton is reporting a 15 percent drop in half-year profit before one off events, though much of that fall was due to changes in Australia’s mining tax and other non-operational items.

BHP has fared better than some of its rivals despite slowing global growth and commodity price volatility.

The new chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said he remained confident in China’s long-term growth prospects, but he outlined a low-risk strategy with no major growth projects.

Mackenzie mapped out a cautious approach to expanding into the potash market, which the company sees as its next big growth business beyond 2020.

Reflecting the austerity drive, BHP said it plans to invest $2.6 billion (1.94 billion euros) over the next four years digging shafts at the Jansen potash project, delaying production at least until 2020 from its original 2015 target, while inviting offers for stakes in the mine.

“The whole basis of the strategy that we’re being clear about today is that we want to retain complete flexibility to enter the market at a timing which we think is right to maximise returns for our sharheolders,” Mackenzie told reporters.

BHP put more than $40 billion (30 billion euros) worth of new projects on ice a year ago to combat costs that had grown out of control over the previous decade as miners raced to feed booming Chinese demand.

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