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SUZIE KEEN
2/06/2009 4:57:00 PM

The mammoth environmental impact statement for BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam expansion is on show until 8pm today at the Adelaide Convention Centre, but Greens MP Mark Parnell has attacked the “shopping centre-style walk-through display”.

“The words of an unaccountable BHP Billiton employee in a one-on-one conversation in front of a pin-up board are a poor substitute for a decent public and media debate about the biggest project in the state’s history,” Mr Parnell said of the display.

Olympic Dam will be the world’s largest copper and uranium quarry, and the EIS has been described by Mines Minister Paul Holloway as “the largest document ever prepared in this state”.

It takes 110 pages just to list the guidelines. The SA Government has extended the normal consulation period to 14 weeks so the public has more time to consider the statement.

The Australian Conservation Foundation today claimed BHP plans to expand the mine much further than is outlined in its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

It said the company had applied for State Government approval to extract up to 1 million tonnes of copper product a year, even though the EIS examine an expansion of only up to 750,000 tonnes a year.

“BHP has failed to advise the public of the full extent of the proposed mine expansion and is seeking approval for the right to operate a much larger project than the studies in its EIS suggest,” said ACF nuclear campaigner David Noonan.

“Radioactive waste from the mine, damage to the marine environment from desalination and greenhouse pollution from additional energy demand may all be one-third worse than envisaged by the company’s EIS.”

Copies of the EIS can be found at http://www.olympicdameis.sa.gov.au.

http://www.independentweekly.com.au/news/local/news/general/olympic-dam-eis-on-display-in-adelaide/1529637.aspx

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