BHP Billiton will today release the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed US$15 billion expansion of its Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.
The EIS is expected to be over 1000 pages long and will contain an accompanying DVD to help explain the complex development.
The planned expansion would include turning the Roxby Downs operation into an open cut mine as well as major increases in annual production.
Copper production is due to grow by four times its current level to 730,000 tonnes, uranium five times to 19,000 tonnes and gold eight times to 800,000 ounces.
Industry speculation suggests however, that little progress will be made in actually moving towards the expansion given that around 200 BHP employees attached to the expansion have been made redundant and the miner is still feeling the effects of the failure of the Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia.
A public consultation period of 14 weeks will follow today’s EIS release after which approvals will be sought from both State and Federal departments.