Resource Copper (Cu), Uranium (U), Silver (Ag), Gold (Au)


Status Operating
Mining operation
  • Underground mine with more than 450 km of underground roads and tunnels
  • Automated train system hauls ore to surface crushing, storage and ore hoisting facilities
  • Processing plan to extract high-quality copper concentrate from sulfide ore through a flotation process
  • Fully integrated metallurgical complex with grinding and concentrating circuit, hydrometallurgical plant with solvent extraction circuits for copper and uranium, copper smelter and refinery, recovery circuit for precious metals

More information is available from the BHP website

Location 560 km north of Adelaide in the State's Far Northolympic_dam_blue
Tenement information

Special Mining Lease SML1

Tenement information can be accessed via the South Australian Resources Information Gateway (SARIG)

Under Actions, select the Identify tool, and then click on the highlighted Olympic Dam on the map. To view the tenement information, under Olympic Dam SML click the dropdown next to the Tenement Label title.

The deposit

Olympic Dam is on the eastern margin of the Gawler Craton and is one of the world’s most significant deposits of copper, gold, silver and uranium. The deposit is unconformably overlain by about 300 m of Neoproterozoic to Cambrian age, flat-lying sedimentary rocks of the Stuart Shelf. The deposit is hosted within the Olympic Dam Breccia Complex, occurring entirely within the Roxby Downs Granite.

Mineralisation is contained within a granite-hosted breccia complex. The principal copper-bearing minerals in the deposit are chalcopyrite, bornite and chalcocite, occurring as disseminated grains, veinlets and fragments with breccia zones. Gold typically occurs as extremely fine particles within and associated with the copper sulfide grains. Silver largely occurs in solid solution with the sulfide minerals.

More information about the Geology of the Olympic Dam deposit (PDF 5.1 MB)

Resource estimates and production estimates

Company released resource estimates and production statistics are available from BHP's annual reports.

Approval process

The Olympic Dam Mine operates under the Roxby Downs (Indenture Ratification) Act 1982 and the Olympic Dam and Stuart Shelf Indenture (the Indenture) which is a Schedule to the Act.

The following documents are available on the SA Planning Portal:

Current documents Environmental protection and monitoring programs (EPMPs)

Closure management plan

Uranium incident reports

South Australia’s uranium mines and processing facilities are required to report incidents involving the unplanned release of radioactive process materials, radioactive liquids or radioactive wastes associated with the physical and chemical processing of uranium ores, following standard criteria and procedures.

Olympic Dam uranium incident summary since 2003