Australian news, and some related international items

Gigantic scale of BHP’s planned uranium mine expansion

It’s the end of the world as we know it The Drum, Ben Eltham23 May 11,“……If you want to understand the impact of the “China and India story” on Australia’s economy, one way to do so is to have a quick glance at BHP Billiton’s plans for Olympic Dam.

This month, when the South Australian government announced it was giving a provisional go-ahead to the expansion of Olympic Dam, some of the provisional figures about this development were released. This astonishing feat of human ingenuity will see the excavation of a kilometre of rock in order to mine an ore body with the chimerical value of $1 trillion. Just getting to the ore body will take four years of digging, and at its peak, the mine will consume more electricity than the city of Adelaide – in fact, it will eventual consume about 60 per cent of South Australia’s entire electricity supply.

It will require so much water that BHP is building a huge desalination plant in the upper Spencer Gulf that will make 200 mega-litres of water every day.
The mine will operate for 100 years, producing mainly copper, a key raw material for the hungry Asian factories that make your laptops and phones. So important is it to South Australia’s economic fortunes that South Australian premier Mike Rann told The Australian Financial Review recently that that Olympic Dam was the single biggest demand on his time…..

May 24, 2011 - Posted by | South Australia, uranium |

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