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Filmmaker David Bradbury goes to Olympic Dam (BHP Billiton mine site), near Roxby Downs in South Australia. When he tries to film, he is stopped by a security guard. He finds another way to film, shooting footage from a plane and while on a tour of the site. Bradbury explains the amount of radioactive tailings that are brought to the surface and how much water and electricity are used by the company.
The eventual production of the enlarged mine — perhaps the largest ever man-made hole in the ground — is anticipated to be 730,000 tonnes copper, 19,000 tonnes of uranium oxide and 25 tonnes of gold per year. Critics have pointed out that the carbon footprint [e.g., diesel from vehicles and mining equipment] and electricity needs [possibly via gas-fired power plants] of this expanded enterprise would be massive — by some estimates almost 700 MW of extra electrical power demand.
BHP Billiton already exports about 1,200 tonnes of
uranium oxide produced at Olympic Dam a year through
the Port of Darwin. The expanded operation would use
facilities at the port's East Arm to export an additional
13,000 tonnes of uranium oxide and 1.6 million tonnes
per year of concentrate.
The additional uranium oxide would increase the current
200 standard shipping containers used each year to
about 900 and require minor modifications to the existing
storage and handling facilities.
The Olympic Dam mine operation uses about 35 mega-litres (ML) a day from the Great Artesian Basin. This is within BHP Billiton’s licensed limit of 42 ML/day.
The proposed development would require an additional 200 ML/day of water