Greens call for Olympic Dam processing jobs to stay in Australia
In the wake of BHP Billiton’s record profit announcement, South Australian Greens MP Mark Parnell is calling on the South Australian government to insist that BHP process Olympic Dam ore in South Australia, not export it to China to save costs.
“BHP Billiton has asked permission to send South Australian radioactive copper concentrate to China for processing, and with it many of the jobs from the expansion, rather than keeping the jobs here in our State,” Mr Parnell said.
“The company’s main justification is that building a new processing plant at Roxby Downs ‘would not provide the optimal return on investment’.
“Yet this ‘China Option’ has been categorically rejected by Premier Rann in the past, and he must reject it again."
Mr Parnell said BHP’s record profit proves the company can afford to process the ore here, as well as do more to reduce the environmental impact of the expansion.
He said that in 2007, Premier Rann stated in a media release headlined “BHP Billiton’s ‘China Option’ is not South Australia’s option”, that “the South Australian Government will strongly oppose any moves by the company to do most of the processing of minerals from the expanded Olympic Dam mine overseas”.
“Premier Rann must continue to insist that BHP Billiton process South Australian ore in South Australia. Domestic processing is the job-rich component of the project and ensures we keep control over where our uranium ends up,” said Mr Parnell.
BHP Billiton reported a net profit of $22.5 billion for the financial year, the biggest in Australian corporate history.