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Business

Australian miners ramp up investment in electric-vehicle metals

Copper and lithium among targets for spending as demand and prices climb

SYDNEY -- Australia's mining companies are shelling out more to find copper and other materials used in electric vehicles as demand for the next-generation automobiles grows.

Anglo-Australian mining group BHP Billiton looks to invest $6.9 billion in plants and exploration in the year through June, up 32% from the previous fiscal year's $5.22 billion. The aim is to improve productivity at the company's core coal and iron ore operations, and to develop its copper business. BHP in February completed a $350 million facilities upgrade at the Olympic Dam copper mine, where it plans to raise output 25-35% on the year.

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