NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- BHP Billiton (BHP) - Get Report laid out specifics Friday on how it plans to spend some of the money it has set aside for a massive $80 billion capital-expenditure program, which the mining juggernaut aims to outlay over the next four years.
In this first stage, the money will go in two directions, all of it at home Down Under: nearly $7 billion on projects in the iron-ore rich Pilbara region of Western Australia, and about $2.5 billion on coking coal mines and facilities in the Bowen Basin of Queensland, Australia (coking coal is the kind used for steelmaking).
The iron ore projects include a lot of infrastructure. Half of its spending in Western Australia will go toward expanding
, the crucial depot where ships load up and where the various types of iron ore are blended by BHP into the mixture required by each steelmaker customer.
As for Pilbara mining itself, BHP will focus its efforts on developing a new site in the region called Jimblebar. The company wants the mine up and running by 2014; it will boost BHP's iron ore production from Western Australia to about 220 million metric tons per year, it said.
The Bowen Basin, meanwhile, is situated in the heart of the Australian region ravaged earlier this year by once-in-a-century floods. The expanded capacity there will lift BHP's coking coal output to about 5 million metric tons a year, the company said.
In other mining news, a government official in Mongolia told
Friday that the initial public offering of a new coal-mining operation could come as soon as the end of 2011. The mine, still in development, sits atop what's being billed as the largest coal deposit ever discovered. Called Tavan Tolgoi, it's located in the middle of the Gobi Desert.
One part of the Mongolian deposit is being sold off in the IPO. Another bit is being
to the highest bidder by the government, with a host of companies vying for the asset, including
and South Korea's
Mongolian mining is as hot as any region on earth at the moment. The mineral-rich nation is also home to
( IVN), which is developing an enormous copper and gold mine in the country called Oyu Tolgoi. (Tolgoi means "hill" in Mongolian.) The company also recently announced another copper discovery in Mongolia as part of a joint-venture exploration project with BHP Billiton.
-- Written by Scott Eden in New York
>To contact the writer of this article, click here:
>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to
>To submit a news tip, send an email to:
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.