BHP says its minerals exploration expenditure for the December 2021 half year was US$110 million, of which US$80 million was expensed. BHP has continued to add to our early stage options in future facing commodities. Greenfield minerals exploration is being undertaken on advancing copper targets in Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Canada, Australia and the south-west United States.
Nickel targets are also being advanced in Canada and Australia. Specifically in copper, BHP is undertaking target drilling in Chile, Ecuador and the United States while further drilling is underway in Australia.
In October 2021, BHP executed its farm-in agreement for the early-stage prospective Elliott copper project covering 7,200 km2 in the Northern Territory, Australia. Under the terms of the agreement, BHP can earn up to 75 per cent interest in Elliott by spending up to A$25 million over 10 years.
Also in October 2021, BHP exercised its option to form an exploration joint venture with Red Tiger Resources for the Intercept Hill copper project, which borders Oak Dam in South Australia.
At Oak Dam in South Australia, BHP is continuing next stage resource definition drilling, after commencing the program in May 2021. In December 2021, BHP advanced its early-stage nickel interests by investing in the Kabanga Nickel Project (Kabanga), a high-quality nickel sulphide deposit in Tanzania. Kabanga is a joint venture between Kabanga Nickel Limited (84 per cent interest) and the Government of Tanzania (16 per cent).