(Australian Associated Press)
A TIMELINE OF THE OLYMPIC DAM COPPER AND URANIUM MINE IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA:
1973: Western Mining starts exploring in South Australia for a major copper deposit with its search centred on the Olympic Dam stock watering hole on Roxby Downs station.
1983: A year after beginning underground drilling, Western Mining releases its first statement on ore reserves at Olympic Dam, which it puts at an estimated 450 million tonnes.
1993: Western Mining buys out BP to resume 100 per cent ownership of Olympic Dam.
2005: BHP Billiton acquires Western Mining in a $9 billion takeover and begins a major drilling program at Olympic Dam to boost ore reserves.
2009: The total resource is increased for the third time in as many years and is now estimated at nine billion tonnes.
2011: The SA and federal governments give development approval for the mine’s expansion while imposing stringent environmental conditions. It has the potential to be one of the world’s largest mines.
2012: BHP Billiton announces a delay in the approval process as it investigates an alternative, less capital-intensive design of the Olympic Dam open-pit expansion, involving new technologies, to substantially improve the economics of the project.
Feb 2015: BHP Billiton cuts 90 jobs at Olympic Dam to ensure it remains a viable.
June 2015: The company axes another 140 jobs associated with its Olympic Dam operations. The contract positions are mostly located in Adelaide.
Aug 2015: BHP announces 380 jobs will go at Olympic Dam as it continues to grapple with low commodity prices.