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Johannesburg - World's biggest miner BHP Billiton said on Tuesday it was in progress for further cost reductions and implementing technology programs to improve safety and unlock resource in a bid to grow value and improve returns.

Chief executive of the Australian mining giant, Andrew Mackenzie, said the miner was in progress on its ambitious plans to achieve this as outlined last year. Mackenzie said since that time, BHP had made consistent progress and was confident that continued delivery of these plans could grow the value of the company by up to 50 percent and almost double the return on capital. 

Mackenzie was speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Metals, Mining and Steel Conference. He said key contributors to value creation included further cost reductions which supported a 10 percent value uplift. "We have achieved a great deal over the past year but we are not standing still," Mackenzie said. 

"Our road map today contains an enhanced set of opportunities that will see us prosper and grow value per share throughout the cycle, and in multiple price scenarios." Mackenzie said advances in the operating capability and capital productivity of BHP's shale assets also continued to lower drilling and completion costs, supporting returns on invested capital in excess of 30 percent on incremental investments. 

He said BHP Billiton's focused petroleum exploration program has an unrisked value of over US$20 billion, close to a quarter of which sits in low to medium risk prospects to be tested in the next two years. Mackenzie said technology programs to improve safety, lower costs and unlock resource with an unrisked value of up to US $12 billion were among the most capital efficient options in the portfolio. 

He said attractive options include leaching optimisation, mass mining methods and precision extraction. "Above all, we will remain disciplined, and drive consistent and transparent application of our capital allocation framework, which includes cash returns to shareholders. Our path is deliberate, with value and returns at the centre of everything we do," Mackenzie said. 

Meanwhile, BHP Billiton announced that it was rebranding itself by changing its name back to just BHP from this week, but the rebranding would not immediately include plans to formally change its listed name. 

 - African News Agency (ANA)