BHP hits higher grades at Olympic Dam with new decline

The Kalta Decline. Image BHP (via Twitter).

BHP has launched the operation of an underground ramp that will improve access to higher-grade copper at the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.

The Kalta Decline is set to nearly double Olympic Dam’s trucking capacity to surface from the Southern Mine Area.

It importantly opens up the higher-grade Southern Mine Area, which has been the focus of BHP’s development of the copper reserves at Olympic Dam in recent years.

Olympic Dam mine development manager Vinod Perera, speaking on a BHP video, said the decline essentially doubled haulage capacity out of the mine and gave the operation flexibility to move material.

“Investments like this are critical for Olympic Dam’s growth options and opportunities,” Perera said.

“So the project was approximately $40 million, delivered on time in about 18 months and on budget as well.”

BHP produced first ore from the Southern Mine Area in mid 2017 after a $250 million investment up to that point. The company began work on the expansion into the Southern Mine Area during the 2015 financial year.

Mine production manager Mick Veale said it was really important for BHP to be able to move the material out of the Southern Mine Area.

“It allows us to start developing that new mining area for Olympic Dam, so it is a pretty key part of Olympic Dam’s future,” he said.

The Kalta Decline has been named in acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land where Olympic Dam is located. The name means shingleback lizard.