Olympic Dam extends 550 km NNW of Adelaide with coordinates: 30°26′40″S 136°52′0″E / 30.44444°S 136.86667°E is a mining centre in South Australia. The site produces large iron oxide copper gold deposits like copper, uranium, gold and silver. The site also includes integrated metallurgical processing plant present in an underground mine.
It is the largest known single deposit of uranium in the world and fourth largest copper deposit. In 1975 Western Mining Corporation discovered the deposit and the production was started in 1987. Initially it was owned by WMC Resources, but in 2005 BHP Billiton acuired it. The mine uses modern and highly productive mining equipments and uses Sublevel open stoping mining method.
It is one of the Australia’s larger mine with 9.1 million tonnes of production in 2005. In 2005, 220,000 tonnes of copper, 4500 tonnes of uranium oxide, gold and silver were produced. Port Adelaide exports copper and Uranium. Roxby Downs and Andamooka are the living towns for most of the workers. Olympic Dam is served from regular flights to Olympic Airport. Olympic mine is the largest industrial user of underground water in southern hemisphere with a usage of 35 million litres of Great Artesian Basin water each day. The pre-feasibility stage of Olympic Dam began in 2008 and the first step of expansion will complete in late 2013. It is estimated that mine production rate will rise to 72 million tonnes per year producing 730,000 tonnes copper, 19,000 tonnes of uranium oxide and 25 tonnes of gold per year. It is expected that besides refined copper and uranium concentrate, ore concentrates will be shipped to smelters in China. It was decided that the project would proceed as an open cut operation as revealed by South Australia’s Premier Mike Rann in December 2008.
According to a report in March 2005, the production rate was annualised as 9.1 million tonnes and thus makes it one of Australia’s larger mine. In 2005 the production of copper was 220,000 tonnes and that of uranium with gold and silver was 4500 tonnes. Port Adelaide is used for exporting the oxides. Roxby Downs and Andamooka are the places that most of the employees use to live in. Over 35 million litres of water is used by Olympic dam each day from the Great Artesian basin. Currently mine uses Sublevel open stoping method in its process.