Copper Mining

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:29): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister update the house on recent milestones at Olympic Dam and its importance to the economy?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:29): Thank you again to the member for Hammond for this important question. Yes, I was very pleased to give an update on the importance of copper more broadly yesterday. But, in a little bit more detail with regard to the member's question about Olympic Dam, Olympic Dam is the largest operating underground mine in Australia. It is a very important business for our state and our nation.

BHP, which operates the Olympic Dam mine, released some information very recently. In fact, on 18 July BHP released its operational review for the fourth quarter for the 2018 financial year, so April, May, June just gone. Some quick points to share with the house and the member for Hammond that came out of that report are:

Olympic Dam achieved 137,000 tonnes of copper cathode production for the year;

there's a strong recovery from the major smelting maintenance work undertaken last year;

BHP obtained their first ore from the high-grade southern mine area—

An honourable member: Hear, hear!

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: Yes, a very positive development. This requires less processing, and the maintenance work allows this area to be developed. BHP also produced the first copper cathode from its heap leach trial, another very important development.

These innovations will help underpin steady growth. There are more investments planned to upgrade surface perforations and increase production from the southern mine area, as I just mentioned. I am very pleased with BHP's information for the market, that up from 137,000 tonnes these investments and innovations could produce between 200,000 and 220,000 tonnes of copper cathode this financial year.

This important information is not only about the company's performance but it is actually about South Australia—very important, obviously, for the Roxby Downs community, which is not only important for the people who live and work right there but it is a very important service centre for outback South Australia, and very important for employment across our state, whether that be direct employment with BHP or the multitude of contractors who work for companies supporting BHP and not only at Olympic Dam but in other parts of the state as well, including here in Adelaide.

This production is very important to our state's royalties income. Very importantly, one of the things that the mining industry does, as well as generating wealth across our state, is contribute an income stream directly into the state government based on their productivity, which then goes through Treasury on to fund other important expenditure on behalf of taxpayers. So it is a very important area of mining.

It would be remiss of me to talk about Olympic Dam and BHP without mentioning OZ Minerals at Prominent Hill and Carrapateena. Carrapateena is going to be the very next mine up and operating in South Australia, just on the western edge of Lake Torrens in the electorate of Giles. It is a very important development, and OZ Minerals is doing a fantastic job there.

There are two shining examples of copper in South Australia. Let me say, exploration is flourishing and our government is doing important work with the Geological Survey of South Australia, providing information to explorers. I would like to acknowledge the Hon. Roger Goldsworthy, who all members of this house recognise as one of the most important people to unlock this wealth generation many decades ago.