A conversation with BHP’s Edgar Basto and Hon Tom Koutsantonis MP

Our first event of the year focussed on ‘Accelerating Growth’ in the context of the South Australian copper story and future opportunities for the state.

Thank you to Edgar Basto, BHP’s Chief Operating Officer and Hon Tom Koutsantonis MP, Minister for Energy & Mining for joining us for an insightful conversation.

The Minister outlined the importance of copper, the State Government’s Copper Strategy and the infrastructure required to capitalise on growing demand, including the proposed Northern Water Project, while Edgar outlined BHP’s Copper Province Strategy and operational plans, including the skills, collaboration and commitment required to boost productivity, generate flow-on impacts for local business and communities, and put SA on the global copper map.

Thank you also to Belinda Willis for managing an insightful panel discussion on the evening.

Key takeaways from the discussion:

  • The world needs copper and SA has significant copper reserves, representing 70% of Australia’s copper resources.
  • Global demand for copper is being driven by the race to Net Zero and the transition to electrification. Electric cars require around 60kg of copper, three or four times as much as conventional cars.
  • To help meet this demand, BHP has made a significant investment in the acquisition of OZ Minerals and is embarking on a substantial reimagining of its South Australian footprint, bringing together the operations of Carrapateena and Prominent Hill mines with the Olympic Dam asset and the Oak Dam project.
  • This new copper province has the potential to unlock long-term value and create synergies across BHP’s South Australian operations that will boost productivity, have flow-on impacts for local business and communities, and put SA on the global copper map.
  • At the heart of BHP’s plans is a proposed scale up of its domestic processing and smelting capabilities, bringing with it the potential to create new jobs, drive new skills and generate enormous local business and supply-chain opportunities for the State.
  • To realise this potential will require close and extensive collaboration and partnerships across industry, government, and community.
  • BHP’s Copper Province strategy is an example of how we can unlock the economic complexity and investment potential of South Australia by improving local supply-chain capability and boosting productivity.

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