Proposed expansion of Olympic Dam declared a major development


The Marshall Liberal Government has declared BHP’s proposed 75 per cent increase in annual copper production at Olympic Dam a major development proposal to ensure the highest level of environmental, economic and social assessment possible.

The $3 billion proposal would increase Olympic Dam’s annual copper production from 200,000 tonnes to up to 350,000 tonnes and increase the level of gold, silver and uranium production.

“Declaring BHP’s proposed expansion of Olympic Dam a major development is a key milestone in this important project,” said Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“Olympic Dam is already the State’s largest mining operation, providing jobs, investment and royalties for South Australia.

“BHP’s proposal could potentially create up to 1,800 construction jobs with an additional 600 ongoing positions in operational roles.

BHP proposes to increase the use of water from the Great Artesian Basin to up to 50 megalitres a day.

“It needs to be stressed that there will be a thorough environmental assessment of BHP’s proposed development, including its request for an increased take from the Great Artesian Basin.

“This proposal will be subject to a rigorous scientific assessment to ensure maximum draw down limits are scientifically determined and sustainable, and that other waters users are not adversely impacted.

“There will also be extensive public consultation on the proposed expansion to make sure that communities have their say and there is transparency of the assessment of the project.”

The Ministerial declarations cover BHP’s proposals both within and outside the mining lease, such as proposed industrial, accommodation and airport developments in Roxby Downs.

Minister for Planning Stephan Knoll said the assessment of the proposed development will be based on an evaluation of potential environmental, social and economic impacts and how these may be managed.

“The major development process provides a detailed framework for assessment informed by the community, State Government and the Federal Government,” Mr Knoll said.

The State Government understands that BHP will refer the proposal to the Commonwealth Government to ensure that it is considered under the framework of the Commonwealth’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Further information about the major development process for Olympic Dam can be found online:

Further information about BHP’s Olympic Dam proposed expansion can be found online at: