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Metal mine expansion reaches next stage of approval process

BHP workers
BHP workers

A multinational resources company is making progress on obtaining the nod to expand its metal operation in South Australia’s Far North region.

BHP has received assessment guidelines for ramping up production at its Olympic Dam Underground Copper and Uranium Mine, 575km northwest of Adelaide.

The guidelines outline potential social, environmental and economic impacts to be assessed by BHP as part of the expansion.

2400 jobs

The proponent plans to lift copper production by an average of 40 per cent to 350,000 tonnes per annum. At peak production there is potential to increase production by as much as 75 per cent according to the State Government.

The expansion, which already has major development status, is expected to create up to 1800 jobs during construction plus a further 600 positions once operational. None of the jobs are advertised yet.

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“The State Government welcomes BHP’s proposal to increase copper production by up to 75 per cent per annum, which will generate enormous employment and other economic benefits for SA,” State Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said in a public statement.

“The guidelines require BHP to examine the impacts of increased water extraction from the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) including on the water resource, GAB springs ecosystems and existing GAB water users including pastoralists and petroleum producers. It will also require BHP to assess … any possible radiation, air quality and the management of additional waste, including tailings storage facilities.”

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