Energy and Mines


BHP knocks renewables after $100m loss

BHP knocks renewables after $100m loss
February 24
14:26 2017

BHP’s Olympic Dam copper, gold, and uranium mine in South Australia (Credit: Aaron Bunch, via the Australian Business Review.)

BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie is slamming renewable energy after a three-week outage at the firm’s Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in South Australia that cost the company $US105 million.

“Let’s talk about affordability, reliability and emissions reduction, as opposed to having some secondary target about just having more renewables, which might deny you all three,” Mackenzie said. “We have lost $US100m in this period because of the intermittency of power in South Australia, and also we are facing more expensive electricity, frankly, than we budgeted for at this time last year.”

A planned expansion of Olympic Dam to produce 450,000 tonnes of copper a year may not occur if the reliability and cost of energy doesn’t improve, Mackenzie cautioned. He noted that he believes carbon capture and storage is the best way to address emissions, rather than renewables.

“Japan, India, Australia or the United States — and I could probably add to that — these are all countries that are probably heading down a route where, in order to deal with the affordability, reliability and emission issue, they need to promote more carbon capture and storage,” he said, suggesting that Australian leaders should do the same.

“We sincerely hope that the government of South Australia and some of the reviews underway that we’re contributing to, some of which go to the federal level, actually address some of the great difficulties we’ve had to face.”

Read the full article in the Australian Business Review.

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Kate Dougherty

Kate Dougherty