BHP Jobs. Olympic Dam mining project back on track

BHP Jobs – Olympic Dam

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Olympic Dam Expansion

BHP Billiton is once again seeking approval from the Northern Territory and South Australian governments for the expansion of its existing mining and processing operation at Olympic Dam in South Australia.

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In terms of gold and copper deposits, Olympic Dam (located 560 km north of Adelaide) is considered to be the fourth largest in the world and has a large concentration of multi-mineral ore body deposits. The proposed expansion would be take place over a period of 11 years. It would involve a period of major construction and earth moving activities before the ore bodies could even be reached. Estimates to remove the top layer of overburden are expected to take somewhere in the region of 4-5 years and will mean a workforce of highly skilled heavy machinery operators, dump truck drivers, front end loader operators and dozer drivers.
The project schedule ultimately will depend on the timing and nature of government approvals and the final investment decision of the BHP Billiton Board.

The Expansion Program

The proposed Olympic Dam expansion will focus on the creation of a new open pit mine that would operate alongside the existing
underground mine and increase ore production 600 percent. To process the vast volumes of additional raw materials, the existing smelter would be expanded as well as a new concentrator and hydrometallurgical plant. These production facilities would generate and process additional concentrate for transport.

Olympic Dam Mine site Infrastructure

The major items of infrastructure required to support the expansion of mining and minerals processing would include:
a 280 megalitre per day (ML/d) coastal desalination.
  • Plant at Point Lowly on Upper Spencer Gulf (to supply 200 ML/d of additional water via a 320 km pipeline connection to Olympic Dam and with the potential to supply 80 ML/d for the South Australian Government to replace River Murray water to Upper Spencer Gulf and Eyre Peninsula regions)
  • Either an additional 270 km electricity transmission line from Port Augusta to Olympic Dam, or a gas pipeline from Moomba and a new gas-fired power station at Olympic Dam, or a hybrid solution that is a combination of these two supply methods
  • a 105 km rail line to connect Olympic Dam to the national rail network near Pimba, to move product and supplies predominantly by rail instead of road
  • A new airport to replace the existing airport at Olympic Dam which would handle aircraft such as the Boeing 737-800 or A320 and would support both day and night flights
  • A landing facility 12 km south of Port Augusta to unload equipment from barges, and an access corridor to a pre-assembly yard on the north-western outskirts of Port Augusta
  • Additional port facilities in South Australia at Outer Harbor
  • Further port facilities in the Northern Territory at the Port of Darwin to import supplies and export product
  • Construction of a new workers accommodation village (named Hiltaba Village)
  • Expansion of the Roxby Downs township, 14 km south of the mine, where most of Olympic Dam`s operational workforce would continue to live.

The project is still in the EIS phase. Overall the purpose of the Environmental Impact Statement informs decision-makers and stakeholders about why the project is needed, potential environmental, social, cultural and economic issues arising in the construction and operation phases. It also focuses heavily on how the project is wound up and in what condition the mine would be returned to it’s natural state when the mine closes.

Giving the unpredictability of the global economies, it is often difficult for mining companies to make accurate predictions about how the market will change and how developing technology will impact on productivity.  BHP Billiton has set the timeframe for the assessments in the Draft EIS at 40 years.
Olympic Dam is a mammoth project and the size of the mineral resource deposit suggests that mining could continue well beyond the estimated 40 years, in which case further environmental approvals would be required.

Olympic Dam Jobs

All this talk of BHP, EIS and Olympic Dam is all well and good. It is heartening to hear of future projects still being considered in a time where the media seems only to want to publish news that is not so good. Mining in Australia is going to be challenging for many mining companies.

There is a new wave of mining coming and it will require dedicated people who understand the value of contributing to the overall growth of the business. Mining is not an easy way to earn a living, it is tough, hard work and as the majority of mines in Australia are in remote locations, a FIFO workforce is required.

How to prepare for BHP mining careers

BHP offers good career opportunities for people who are motivated and talented. Their outlook on employment is such that their mission statement is to treat all employees fairly and with respect, and everyone has the opportunity to achieve to their full potential.

BHP Billiton is a global company with dozens of mining and resource projects. Working at BHP gives you the opportunity to work anywhere in the world, providing you with invaluable experience in mining and the resource sector that will increase your future career possibilities.

Mining Graduates and Students

The BHP Billiton Foundations for Graduates Program is widely recognised as one of the best in the mining and resources sector. Graduates learn from BHP leaders and are immersed in an award-winning learning and development program that when completed, created a wide range of mining and resource sector career opportunities.

The challenging and rewarding two-year BHP training attracts a high calibre of graduates from around the world.

Graduates can study a wide range of subjects with courses in Engineering, Science & Exploration, Health Sciences and Business. Visit the BHP Billiton website for more details.

Mining Careers at BHP Billiton

Find out about mining careers and current job opportunities at BHP Billiton, view their mining jobs board or even sign up for BHP job alerts (recommended). BHP job alerts are easy to set up. Simply go to this website and add your details, select which types of mining jobs or career suits your level of mining experience and qualification. You will be sent email alerts for BHP jobs as they are added to the jobs boards.

BHP jobs at Olympic Dam, if the project gets approval and moves to the next phase of development, will be highly sought after. There will be a cross section of jobs available from construction, earth moving, sciences, management and technical trades required.

Now is the time to consider your future in mining by taking the time to research the opportunities Olympic Dam might offer you. Get the right training and qualifications now. Build your experience by working in related industries like quarrying and civil construction and as always, make sure your resume is mining focused and reflects every single qualification you can do to give you the best possible chance at securing a BHP job.

Reference: BHP Jobs – Olympic Dam

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