Olympic Dam Mine Expansion

  • Australia’s largest open pit mine, visible from space.
  • Copper production will rise from 235,000 up to 750,000 tonnes per year.
  • Total logistics would increase from the current one million tonnes to 2.2m tonnes.

Olympic Dam, a multi-mineral ore body in the arid north of South Australia, is the world's fourth largest copper mine and largest known uranium deposit. Olympic Dam is a resource of enormous potential as a proposed open pit mine and process plant expansion which would more than triple the mine’s annual copper production.

Since 2005 Arup has utilised its unique ability to offer multidisciplinary solutions to support the expansion of Australia’s largest copper and uranium mine. The firm was engaged for the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and selection studies.

For the EIS, Arup initially assessed several development options. This major undertaking examined social, cultural, and economic changes, as well as the project’s impact on the natural environment. The expansion is centred on the creation of a new open pit mine and minerals-processing facilities. Major support infrastructure would also be needed, including a coastal desalination plant, a new power line and possibly a gas-fired power station, a rail line, an airport, port facilities, a village to accommodate workers, and more housing, retail, commercial and community facilities.

Arup’s consultants mapped the way forward with innovative ideas at every turn, paving the way for a regulatory approval application. They also worked out cost-effective and environmentally responsible infrastructure options for the accommodation and logistics selection studies.

Arup was also entrusted with both the master planning of Roxby Downs, which will reach a peak population of 10,000, and the design of an 8000-unit construction village. The aim: to create a liveable, attractive and safe community for resident families and for the fly-in/fly-out workforce. The scope of our work included civil engineering and site services, structural engineering, electrical engineering, communications security, risk and project management

Olympic Dam Update

On 22 August 2012 BHP Billiton announced that it will investigate an alternative, less capital-intensive design of the Olympic Dam open-pit expansion, involving new technologies, to substantially improve the economics of the project. As a result it will not be ready to approve an expansion of Olympic Dam before the Indenture agreement deadline of 15 December 2012. BHP Billiton CEO said current market conditions, including subdued commodity prices and higher capital costs, had led to the decision." 
Source: BHP Billiton

Arup looks forward to continuing its relationship with BHP Billiton and the Olympic Dam project to assist in developing innovations and contribute to a successful and sustainable expansion.