The world’s largest mining company, BHP Billiton, has announced their plans to spend 900 million U.S. dollars in the next financial year on exploration for copper and oil.

BHP, which is based in Melbourne, said the oil exploration program would focus on deep-water basins in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and off the coast of Western Australia. Its copper exploration would target Chile, Peru, the United States, Canada and Australia.

The company’s Head of Geoscience Laura Tyler said on Monday the company was taking a value-focused approach to exploration, despite employment opportunities for geoscientists in Australia continuing to decline in 2016.

“We are investing at a time when most in our sector continue to reduce discretionary spend,” Tyler said at an investors conference on Monday.

“Next financial year, we intend to invest approximately 900 million U.S. dollars in exploration, which represents 18 percent of our overall capital budget.”

“We are also challenging existing paradigms with a scientific based and disciplined approach to exploration. We have reduced exploration operating costs by 70 percent since 2013, and this year we have increased the targets tested by 44 percent,” Tyler said.

As of May this year, BHP Billiton’s market capitalization value was 80.3 billion U.S. dollars. The company engages in the exploration, development, production and processing of minerals, gas and oil.

Tyler said BHP’s approach to petroleum over the past four years had been much more focused.

“We have commenced drilling in Trinidad and Tobago and have secured an additional rig which will soon commence drilling in a prospective block north of our Shenzi operations in the Gulf of Mexico,” she said on Monday.

Tyler’s presentation echoed the exploration focus of CEO Andrew Mackenzie, who outlined BHP’s exploration expenditure earlier this year.

In May, Mackenzie expressed confidence in the company’s plan to increase exploration activity.

Xinhua

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