Olympic Dam: managing water-use data for better mine management

Client: BHP Billiton
Location: South Australia
Date: July 2009 - ongoing

Providing low-cost, reliable telemetry and data solutions to monitor and manage saline groundwater for long-term sustainable use.


Olympic Dam is a mining centre in South Australia, and one of the largest industrial users of underground water in the southern hemisphere. The mine operator needed a monitoring and reporting solution to help it reduce wasted water, manage water allocations, schedule to meet future demands and deliver saline water to the mine, and sustain the saline water source (groundwater extracted from the local bore-fields).


BHP Billiton chose Entura’s Ajenti™ Data Management System (ADMS) to monitor and report on saline water-use, bore-field production and wastewater, complementing the client’s existing SCADA system. The system was expanded to include bore piezometers and VWP instrumentation to monitor groundwater during depressurisation.

More than 150 monitoring sites were supplied and installed around the mine for monitoring water meters, bore piezometers and instrumentation including tank level, fuel level, diesel engine and pump status sensors, with control and alarm features enabled.

Custom reports were developed in consultation with the client. These reports retrieve information on bore-field production, saline use and wasted water, to effectively manage assets and provide valuable groundwater information for operations and planning mining works into the future. All information is available securely via the Ajenti Data Management System interactive web interface on a PC, tablet or mobile phone in near real-time and is interfaced to the client’s modelling database via SAPPI.

Entura also conducted onsite training of staff to install, maintain and service the ADMS water management system.


Ajenti has provided a simple, cost-effective water management solution and an alternative to highly complex SCADA systems, and has resulted in BHP Billiton successfully meeting its water allocation targets and rapidly reducing wasted water.

It requires little expertise, can be maintained and managed on site by BHP Billiton personnel, and provides quick and easy access to accurate and regularly-updated saline water data and other parameters. This information has allowed operators to accurately schedule fuel and water allocations, to monitor remote sites without extensive travel, and to oversee their saline system at near real-time – saving effort, time and money.

The ADMS has also allowed non-critical services to be removed from the SCADA network, reducing costs and freeing up bandwidth.