Major announcement imminent on BHP's Olympic Dam expansion plans


UPDATED | A major expansion of BHP’s Olympic Dam mine has been granted major project status.

In an announcement foreshadowed exclusively by InDaily today, BHP’s expansion plans for the mine have been granted major development status.

The declaration appeared in the Government Gazette this afternoon.

The $2.1 billion Brownfields Expansion (BFX) project is among BHP’s growth plans for the mine, which taps the world’s fourth-largest known copper deposit.

BFX would increase the pace of development of the Southern Mine Area and upgrade surface processing facilities and infrastructure.

The aim of the project is to increase output to between 280,000 tonnes and 330,000 tonnes a year, and to achieve economies of scale that would place Olympic Dam among the world’s most efficient copper mines.

The declaration fires the starting gun on a series of assessments of the environmental, social and economic impact of the proposed expansion and public consultation, which could eventually lead to state and federal planning approval.

But the project itself may still be years away.

BFX is still in study phase and BHP plans to present the project to the board for potential approval late next year.

Major development status provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for environmental and planning approvals required under state and federal legislation.

It triggers a five-stage assessment process, requiring a proponent to prepare a report on the environmental, social and economic impact of the project, and likely run a community consultation.

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