According to The Australian Financial Review, the BHP board approved $US2.9 billion ($3.8 billion) worth of spending on the South Flank iron ore project on Thursday evening, with costs set to rise to $US3.4 billion once contributions from partners Mitsui and Itochu are included.
South Flank looms as BHP's biggest single project spend (excluding mergers and acquisitions) since it committed $US6.6 billion to the Jimblebar iron ore project in 2011, and the approval came barely three weeks after Fortescue announced it would spend $US1.27 billion on a new mine at Eliwana.
Rio Tinto is also expected to approve construction of a new mine at Koodaideri before the end of 2018, meaning Australia's three biggest iron ore miners will be building mines in the same region at the exact same time.
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