Envisaged to replace 80 million tonnes of annual production from its large Yandi mine, the total development cost for South Flank would likely fall between $US2.4 billion and $US3.2 billion ($3.2 billion-$4.2 billion).
In March, BHP flagged South Flank as the preferred option to replace Yandi, which is nearing the end of its economic life and will need to be replaced "in the early-to-mid-2020s".
BHP revealed on Monday it would put the South Flank project to the board by mid-2018. BHP said the development is expected to cost between $US30 and $US40 a tonne.
"The project is expected to be submitted for board approval in the middle of the 2018 calendar year, with first ore targeted in the 2021 calendar year and ramp-up timed to coincide with the ramp-down of Yandi," BHP said.
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