Authors: Braun, T; Parker, J


Cite As:
Braun, T & Parker, J 2006, 'Case Study at BHP Copper Inc. Copper Mine and Smelter, San Manuel, Arizona', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2006: Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 211-220,

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After more than 50 years of activity, BHP Copper Inc. (BHP) suspended operation of the San Manuel Mine and Plant Sites on June 25, 1999. The former San Manuel Operation (SMO) includes approximately 9300 hectares and is located in southern Pinal County in the State of Arizona, USA (Figure 1). At the time of the suspension announcement, SMO employed in excess of 2600 people (direct) and provided the majority of community services for the company-founded town of San Manuel located adjacent to the integrated mill, smelter and refinery facility. Final closure of the Mine and Plant areas was announced in January 2002 and October 2003, respectively. This paper examines the process of decommissioning and the application of BHP Billiton’s Sustainable Development Policy (Policy). The Policy objective is to create sustainable value for our shareholders, employees, contractors, suppliers, customers, business partners and host communities. BHP Billiton’s sustainable development principles are designed to ensure that business units remain viable and contribute lasting benefits to society through the consideration of social, environmental, ethical and economic aspects of an ongoing or proposed activity (BHP Billiton 2005). For San Manuel, these principals applied to a large-scale facility entering final decommissioning and closure. The Policy ensured that BHP did not compromise safety values, identified and managed risk and met or, in some cases exceeded applicable legal and other requirements.

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Hydrologic Consultants (2001) Pinal County Comprehensive Plan, Area 4-B Water Resources.
Parker, J. and Braun, T. (2006) Closure at the San Manuel Mine Site, Arizona, Mining Engineering Magazine, March.
Pinal County (2004a) Enterprise Zone Program, Annual Report – 1 July to 30 June 2004.
Pinal County (2004b) Comprehensive Development Plan, Amended 1 December 2004.
Case Study at BHP Copper Inc. Copper Mine and Smelter, San Manuel, Arizona T. Braun, J. Parker
220 Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia

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