Olympic Dam Mine

IHS Fairplay reports that Australia's US$30 billion Olympic Dam mine project has received environmental approval, increasing prospects for two port expansions.

BHP Billiton has announced that Federal Government and the State Government of South Australia, where the mine is situated, have formally approved the environmental impact statement on its huge expansion.

Planned are a new open-pit copper, uranium and gold mine, with a pit exceeding 1km in depth and potential to increase copper production from today's 180,000 tonnes per year to 750,000t/y, BHP said in a statement.

The scheme calls for "additional port facilities in South Australia at Outer Harbour and in the Northern Territory at the port of Darwin to import supplies and export product", according to the environmental statement.

IHS Fairplay said a range of associated infrastructure - including an airport, railway line and desalination plant - would also be built.

Outer Harbour would require "new bulk offloading storage facilities", while Darwin's East Arm Wharf would add "new storage, handling and loading facilities", the impact statement added.

Jan Thompson, Industrial Officer,