Greens slam BHP for EIS time frame

The Greens have complained of the length of time BHP has taken to release its response to environmental concerns regarding the Olympic Dam expansion.

They have said it should not take eight weeks before the public is allowed to view their 15 000 page environmental impact statement.

Greens MP Mark Parnell stated that waiting an additional eight weeks was not good enough.

"If the document is good enough to give to the Government, it’s also good enough to show the people who went to the trouble of making a submission,” Parnell said.

He went on to say there are “4,189 people waiting to see how BHP Billiton have explained away the serious concerns that exist around the Olympic Dam expansion.”

The EIS document investigated the mine expansion’s impact on the region, focusing on waste water usage, air quality, radiation and how it approaches desalination.

South Australian acting premier Paul Holloway said he expected that all of the concerns would be suitably addressed with in the environmental impact report, after which it will be released.

“Their job will be to assess the adequacy of the response to ensure it addresses all those issues that have been raised, then the report can be published and the assessment take place," he said.

This latest report is part of a two year investigation into the expansion of BHP’s Olympic Dam mine, which is likely to see the creation of open pit operations in addition to the existing underground mine.

On top of this, the existing smelter would be expanded while a new concentrator and hydrometallurgical plants will also be constructed at the site.

The mine itself is a multi-mineral ore body and the fourth largest copper gold deposit in the world.
A Government decision on the mine’s expansion is projected for next year.

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