Gold medal for Sodexo’s Olympic Dam team

Gold medal for Sodexo’s Olympic Dam team


The Olympic Dam project in South Australia is involved in one of the largest ever planned Shutdowns, but it’s anything other than quiet time. With normal operations paused, the site is abuzz with a massive increase in workforce – and consumers for Sodexo! 

Olympic Dam Asset President, Jacqui McGill, said the smelter maintenance campaign was the largest planned shutdown by BHP in the South Australia, which will upgrade works to ensure long-term effectiveness. The rolling Shutdown period commenced in August, and our client’s teams are now working around the clock to dismantle, rebuild and upgrade the facility by Christmas. 

Throughout the Shutdown, Sodexo is supporting the complex project, with teams on the ground to accommodate, feed, exercise and entertain and the expanded workforce. 

The Sodexo team working on site itself had to triple from around 50 to 150 to service the 3,500 personnel working during the Shutdown. This puts Olympic Dam at a similar scale to the ramp-up last year of the IFMS regions of Coastal, Pannawonica, Tom Price and Paraburdoo in the Pilbara. No small feat!

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Until the end of the year, Sodexo is facilitating around 3,000 check-ins and -outs per week and cleaning around 550 rooms each day, while managing 3,383 Camp rooms across two Villages, plus the extra three mobile camps and 186 townhouse rooms needed during the Shutdown.  

Rebuilding a smelter can be hungry work. Sodexo is currently serving around 9,000 delicious meals a day on site – using a pretty big grocery shopping list…

“Hello Supply Chain? …we need a million eggs, 10 tonnes each of sausages, fish fillets and schnitzels, 15 tonnes of bacon, 120,000 muffins, 20,000 or so drumsticks and thighs, and 35,000 steaks. Oh, and we’re doing roasts too, so can we also get about 50 tonnes of meat for that and let’s say another 60 of diced chicken.  Now onto fruit, vegetables, beverages, dry goods…”

Sodexo Olympic Dam Shutdown Team

As we all know, eating well is just one (important) factor in how Sodexo improves quality of life. To keep workers energised, happy and healthy during the busy Shutdown period, our initiatives have included:

  • a lively and socially vibrant local Tavern, complete with pool and darts, karaoke and quiz nights
  • a hugely popular Health & Lifestyle program, featuring everything from Yoga, Boot Camp, to personal training! 
  • an upgraded gym with a range of new indoor and outdoor equipment for its 1,700 weekly visitors.
  • a new Retail Store that has been a huge hit with locals needing a quick iced coffee, hat, or promotional t-shirt that raises funds for the Royal Flying Doctors Service.
  • a check-in queuing service with BBQs to welcome new arrivals
  • and even a special pizza oven that is now fired up and churning out a range of gourmet pizzas every day.

Even with the flurry of activity, Sodexo’s highest priority remains the safety of our people and our clients.

It’s been a challenging and exciting journey for the Olympic Dam team during the past six weeks. We have worked collaboratively with our client, BHP, through the enormity of the event and to resolve operational challenges. We tripled the size of our onsite team and the teamwork has been outstanding. With the support of our transversal teams in Supply Chain, HSEQ, and Training teams, everyone involved has made a huge effort, and we can all be proud of our success in delivering the largest ever planned Shutdown for our client and consumers. – Jodie Avins – Director of Operations, Australia