Bright Future for South Australian Mining and Energy

131126 Bright Future for SA Mining Pic

Following unprecedented growth over the last decade, new mines and enormous petroleum potential promise even bigger results in South Australia

The future of mining and energy in South Australia is so good it is “beyond belief”, according to the state government official who is privy to the most detailed information about the sector.
Deputy chief executive in the Department of Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy Paul Heithersay said SA has three enormous prospects.

Mr Heithersay has worked closely with BHP Billiton on its expansion plans for Olympic Dam and dismissed doubts on its viability.

“It is the richest ore body in the world,” he said. “That’s it, that’s all you need to know. What’s been happening now is just a flicker on the dial.”

As the fourth biggest copper deposit in the world, it was just at the beginning of its mine life whereas most other globally significant deposits had been exploited for years. Nor was Olympic Dam the only copper prospect.

In addition, onshore and offshore petroleum projects were world scale. These projects will add to the unprecedented growth in the sector over the past decade.

The value generated by the minerals sector tripled from $1.99 billion in 2002-03 to $6.3 billion in 2011-12, the most recent year data is available. At the same time, petroleum sales have exceeded $1 billion every year for a decade, Government data shows. This has translated to thousands of jobs. In the zone north of Port Augusta, 40 per cent of jobs are in resources.
DMITRE lists 21 mines which are operating or which have been approved by the Government. Olympic Dam, which alone accounts for 16 per cent of all SA exports, is by far the biggest. Some on the list are yet to be built such as Centrex’s Wilgerup and IronClad’s Wilcherry Hill. Others such as Beltana and White Dam have been phased down.

However, 40 more projects are on the horizon. A key factor for many will be building an export facility at Port Bonython near Whyalla. At the close of public submissions last week, 25 parties had raised environmental, social or economic issues.

Source: Chris Russell, ‘The Advertiser’, 26 November 2013