Premier Jay Weatherill this week announced that the South Australian Government has granted an extension to the indenture for BHP Billiton to expand Olympic Dam.
The period by which BHP Billiton is required to approve the expansion has been extended to October 2016, Mr Weatherill reported.
BHP Billition also has committed to spending more than $650 million over the next four years at Olympic Dam and on other initiatives within South Australia.
“BHP Billiton has recommitted itself to South Australia. The world-class resource at Olympic Dam will be unlocked, but on a longer time line. ” Mr Weatherill said.
“The level of BHPB’s activity reinforces the commitment it has to its existing workers at Olympic Dam, which is the largest underground mine in Australia.These new activities will also ensure there are more flow-on jobs from the existing operations, let alone the thousands of jobs to be created with the expansion, ” Mr Weatherill added.
The vision, Mr Weatherill believes, is to make South Australia the mining services hub for Australia.
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said Olympic Dam was an incredibly rich resource body and would be developed.
“Olympic Dam is still the world’s biggest uranium resource and fourth biggest copper and gold resources. The independent advice I received showed BHP Billiton did face unforseen economic circumstances that prevented them from approving the original proposal by the December 15 deadline, ” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“This extension puts BHPB in the best position to develop a plan to secure the mine’s expansion and the future prosperity of our State.”
The extension is said to enable BHP Billiton to draft a less capital intensive plan than originally proposed for the expansion.