BHP may face delays for Olympic Dam

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BHP Billiton may face delays in getting approvals for its Olympic Dam expansion, as minor parties in the South Australian Parliament push for an inquiry into the project.

The legal agreement between BHP and the State Government will be introduced to parliament today or tomorrow.

Premier Mike Rann has earmarked Olympic Dam as one of his major legacies as premier and is keen to have the agreement quickly passed through parliament.

However the balance of power in the SA upper house is held by seven minor parties, two of which are Greens MPs.

SA Greens leader Mark Parnell is pushing for Olympic Dam to undergo a thorough analysis by a select committee.

In a statement Parnell said the committee should hear from scientific experts and BHP executives.

“Despite the thousands of pages and lengthy EIS process, not once have the people of SA or Parliament had a single opportunity to directly ask BHP Billiton any questions in an accountable public forum,” he said.

“Every single step of the process has been behind closed doors.”

BHP has indicated that as soon as Parliament approves the agreement it will start the process of spending up to $1.2 billion.

This week legislation will also be introduced to the SA Parliament to permanently ban all mining in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.

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