BHP to almost double base metals exploration spending within five years

BHP’s chief technical officer Laura Tyler has revealed that the group will almost double its exploration spending in the base metals sector within the next five years.

In an interview with Reuters, Tyler said that global exploration spending for base metals will nearly double from the current annual US$70 million to $80 million, excluding outlays for early-entry joint ventures.

“Over the years we believe we have spent less than we should be spending on exploration,” she said. “So we are significantly increasing the amount we’re spending just as our base load.”

The statement comes as the world’s biggest miner looks to increase its exposure to metals intrinsically linked to the clean energy transition, including copper and nickel. BHP is expected to benefit from booming iron ore prices with a record profit call in August, however the new projects pipeline remains thin.

The board is set to make a call on its Jansen potash project in Canada, following the decision to move its global exploration headquarters to Toronto, from Santiago in Chile. “That allows us almost to be closer to the action,” Tyler said.

BHP has partnered with junior Midland Exploration to explore for nickel in the Nunavik region of Northern Quebec, amongst other exploration partnerships in Latin America.