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Olympic Dam

BHP’s Olympic Dam mine in South Australia. Source: BHP

BHP is on the decarbonisation hunt at Olympic Dam, announcing it will enter renewable energy supply arrangements with Iberdrola to reduce its emissions at the South Australia copper-uranium mine.

As part of the agreement, Olympic Dam is aiming for a zero-emissions position for 50 per cent of its electricity consumption by 2025, based on current forecast demand.

Iberdrola’s renewable energy supply will come via the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park in South Australia, set to be Australia’s largest solar-wind hybrid plant once it commences operation in July 2022.

BHP Olympic Dam asset president Jennifer Purdie said the agreement marks an exciting new venture for the South Australian asset.

“These arrangements will support an exciting new renewable energy project which will contribute to South Australia’s renewable energy ambitions,” she said.

“Olympic Dam’s copper has an important role to play to support global decarbonisation and the energy transition as an essential product in electric vehicles and renewable infrastructure. Reducing emissions from our operations will further enhance our position as a sustainable copper producer.”

Iberdrola Australia chief executive officer and managing director Ross Rolfe said he is buoyed by the potential of the agreement.

“We are delighted to be partnering with BHP, helping them meet their decarbonisation and sustainability objectives. We worked very closely with BHP to design these bespoke renewable energy supply arrangements,” he said.

“Olympic Dam is to be the primary customer for the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park, a demonstration of their commitment to local procurement and sustainable economic development.”

It comes after BHP stated it would install two solar farms and a battery storage system to power the Mt Keith and Leinster mines at its Nickel West operations in Western Australia.

In September 2020, BHP revealed its ambitions to reduce scope two emissions at its Queensland coal mines by 50 per cent in the ensuing five years.

The mining giant signed a renewable power purchasing agreement with Queensland’s state-owned clean energy generator and retailer CleanCo to facilitate the venture.

BHP and Iberdrola aim to commence their renewable energy arrangements for Olympic Dam on 1 July 2022.