AUSTRALIA – The federal and South Australian governments have approved the environmental impact statement submitted by BHP Billiton for the expansion of its Olympic Dam copper-uranium-gold mine. The project, that reportedly carries a $20-billion to $30-billion price tag, includes a new open pit mine that could boost copper production to 750,000 t/y from around 180,000 t/y.
The Olympic Dam expansion is currently in the feasibility study phase. There are certain conditions attached to the environmental approval, including the construction and operation of a desalination plant. The conditions will be incorporated in the final assessment that will be presented next year to the BHP Billiton board.
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