ItsahugeblowfortheSouthAustraliagovernmentwhichhadbeenexpectingextrarevenuesofaroundAUS$350mannuallyfromtheexpansion。

ThedecisionalsosuggeststheAustraliancommodityboom,whichhasledtobreakneckeconomicgrowth,maybecomingtoanend,oratleastatemporaryhalt。

BHPsaysitisnowconsideringanalternative,lesscapital-intensivedesignfortheOlympicDam,butthatnodecisionwillbereachedbytheDecember15thdeadlinetheAustralianauthoritieshadimposed。

BHPsChiefExecutive,MariusKloppers,saidhefeltthedecisionreflectedanappropriate,prudentanddisciplinedcourseofaction。

Whilethatmaybethecase,itwillcostBHP$346minimpairmentcharges,whichwillhavetoberecognisedinthefullyearresults。

InitshalfyearlyfiguresreleasedonthesamedayastheOlympicDamannouncement,BHPrevealedunderlyingearningsbeforeinterest,tax,depreciationandamortisation(EBITDA)declined9%to$33。

74bnfrom$37。

1bninthepreviousyear。

At8:35theshareshaddeclined1。

8%。

BS

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