Olympic Dam – Mine Dewatering and Depressurisation


Trailblazing contributions – ABOVE AND BEYOND

Recognising the need for intense and thorough traceability, a detailed cost breakdown, work breakdown and resource breakdown structures and codes were developed enabling comprehensive mapping of the integrated schedule to reference points, but importantly this facilitated automation of the process as the scope, cost, assumptions etc, changed.

The end product was acknowledged by upstream clients as one of the most comprehensive and auditable integrated estimate and schedules delivered, producing accurate cashflows which could easily accommodated refinement through NPV modifications.”

Location: Olympic Dam, Australia
Sector: Industrial, Manufacturing & Resources
Services: Cost Estimating & Management, Planning & Scheduling
Value: AUD 30 billion
Year(s): 2011-2012
Engagement: RPS Aquaterra

The Olympic Dam Expansion in South Australia was planned to create the world’s largest uranium mine, as well as being in the top 10 producers of gold, copper and silver.

Prior to excavation of a kilometre’s deep pit, a ground dewatering and depressurisation network requires construction to control the groundwater and associated soil properties. The medium-term water supply was also to be supplemented via the extraction and piping (30km) of groundwater to the mine site to facilitate excavation.


RPS Aquaterra, who was directly engaged by BHP Billiton,  sought expertise to develop the cost estimate and schedule for the works which included the estimation and scheduling of the design and construction of the water piping, automated control system infrastructure, power supply system and the mechanical and electrical installations.

All deliverables were to be produced in alignment with BHP Billiton’s systems and processes.

What was delivered

A fully integrated cost and resource loaded schedule for the works, aligning and traceable to the various supporting documents.

A Basis of Estimate (BoE) and Basis of Schedule (BoS) documents were also developed in parallel and supported the integrated schedule, allowing thorough review and consideration by BHP in its overall gateway assessment of the expansion.