Resources and Energy minister Martin Ferguson later rowed back, saying commodity prices had peaked while investments in multi-billion dollar projects would continue, especially in the energy sector.
“The resources boom is over,” Mr Ferguson said. “We’ve done well — A$270bn (€224bn) in investment, the envy of the world. It has got tougher in the last six to 12 months.”
BHP blamed soaring development costs, a high Australian dollar and falling commodity prices for pulling the projects.
With China heading for the slowest pace of annual growth in more than a decade, investors are nervous about the near-term outlook for miners.
The resources boom has fuelled what has been dubbed a two-speed economy, which has pumped up the local dollar and exacerbated the pain felt in manufacturing and retail in Australia’s most populous states.
BHP’s Olympic Dam expansion alone would have created 25,000 jobs, South Australia’s government said.