BHP a step closer to boosting Olympic Dam copper output

The Olympic Dam operation. Source: BHP

The South Australian Government has advanced BHP’s proposal to increase copper production at the Olympic Dam mine from 200,000 to 350,000 tonnes per annum.

It released assessment guidelines for the proposed expansion at Olympic Dam.

BHP will be required to submit an environmental impact statement (EIS) in accordance to these guidelines.

The impacts of water extraction from the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) in South Australia is one of the primary areas to be examined, along with other impacts the increased operations will have on the human health and environment.

“BHP’s proposal is complex and will require a comprehensive investigation by the Department for Energy and Mining, the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to ensure all environmental impacts and issues are adequately assessed,” South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said.

“Importantly, the guidelines will also include an assessment of potential new infrastructure requirements and how associated development works may impact upon native vegetation, flora and fauna.

“The effect of the proposal on impacted communities, including Aboriginal people and the Roxby Downs community, will be a key consideration of the Government’s assessment of BHP’s Olympic Dam Resource Development Strategy.”

BHP’s Olympic Dam expansion was previously given major development status by the South Australian Government, which is expected to provide 1800 jobs during the construction period, with another 600 operational jobs to be created in the future.

The draft for BHP’s EIS will be released to the public when completed, and will be open to feedback from the public and local government.

“To gain approval the EIS must demonstrate the project can be delivered to the highest environmental safety standards,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

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