Adelaide Now CHRISTOPHER RUSSELL, BUSINESS EDITOR, and GREG KELTON, WASHINGTON August 24, 2009
KEY environmental concerns about the multibillion-dollar expansion of the Olympic Dam mine must be fixed by BHP Billiton before the mine proceeds.The State Government says these “key environmental concerns” will require BHP to investigate further before any final decision on the Roxby Downs expansion is made in the middle of next year.
The concerns are raised in the Government’s submission – to be published today – into BHP’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement, released in May this year.
The submission lists 368 issues the Government wants resolved. It emphasises these concerns will “require significant attention”……………….
The main concerns include:
DESALINATION: Inadequate surveys about potential risks to species and the ecosystem in the Upper Spencer Gulf where the desal plant is proposed.
WASTE: More detail needed on the proposed tailings storage facility to meet design safety and stability as well as minimising danger posed to local wildlife.
GROUNDWATER: Further examination of the long-term impact on groundwater, in particular directly affected aquifers and the Great Artesian Basin.
ENERGY: The submission applauds BHP’s commitment to source 40 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 – but says data is too vague for BHP to be held to account.
The Government submission consolidates the response of its agencies – including the Environmental Protection Authority – and departments such as Primary Industries and Resources SA, Local Government and Environment and Heritage.
A spokesman for BHP said the company would not comment on the Government submission…………………
The Government’s response follows receipt of 4189 public submissions during a 14-week consultation period.