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Olympic Dam

Olympic Dam

Underground copper mine, also producing uranium, gold and silver

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Located 560 kilometres north of Adelaide, Olympic Dam is one of the world’s most significant deposits of copper, gold, silver and uranium.

Olympic Dam is made up of underground and surface operations and operates a fully integrated processing facility from ore to metal.

The underground mine is made up of more than 450 kilometres of underground roads and tunnels. Ore mined underground is hauled by an automated train system to crushing, storage and ore hoisting facilities.

The processing plant consists of two grinding circuits in which high-quality copper concentrate is extracted from sulphide ore through a flotation extraction process. Olympic Dam has a fully integrated metallurgical complex with a grinding and concentrating circuit, a hydrometallurgical plant incorporating solvent extraction circuits for copper and uranium, a copper smelter, a copper refinery and a recovery circuit for precious metals.

The Olympic Dam experience

It’s an exciting time to be part of the #OlympicDamSquad – hear from our team about why they love it!

Key developments during FY2019

Olympic Dam began operating its third access ramp or decline, opening up the southern mine area. The new decline, known as the Kalta decline, supports productivity and potential growth at the mine as it improves traffic flow for Olympic Dam’s underground trucking fleet.

BHP’s research and development trials into heap leaching technology were successfully completed. Heap leaching works by drip-feeding acid through a large stockpile (or heap) of ore to leach out metals. The program, which began in 2012, was conducted with the support of the South Australian Government, and confirmed the viability of the technology.

Looking ahead

In November 2018, BHP announced a discovery 65 kilometres southeast of Olympic Dam. A potential new iron oxide, copper and gold mineralised system was uncovered as part of our ongoing copper exploration program. The results are still in an early phase and more geological information is required. 

Olympic Dam has a range of future growth options to consider as part of its sustained, long-term growth strategy, including the Brownfield Expansion project. 

The Brownfield Expansion project has the potential to result in production growing at Olympic Dam to approximately 240-300 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa). 

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