Engineering, Equipment & Technology, Mining and Heavy Industries

Olympic Dam not damaged in SA blackout

BHP Billiton asset president Jacqui McGill has reportedly confirmed Olympic Dam’s processing equipment was not damaged by the massive storm and blackout experienced in South Australia in September and October.

According to Fairfax, McGill told a conference recently Olympic Dam had “made a complete and full restart of the equipment at full capacity”.

“Those of you who might operate smelters know they don’t like stopping when they are full, and we were full,” McGill was quoted as saying.

“It was touch and go while we were reheating things, we had a lot of support from the broader industry to make sure we were brought back on track safely.”

Storms damaged transmission lines in South Australia’s mid-north in late September, overloading the major interconnector to Victoria and resulting in a state-wide blackout. Olympic Dam and the nearby township of Roxby Downs were among the sites left longest without power.

OZ Minerals, which operates the nearby Prominent Hill copper-gold mine, downgraded its gold production guidance for 2016 from 125,000-135,000 ounces to 115,000-200,000 ounces.

“The impacts of the South Australian blackouts and extended loss of power to Prominent Hill from 28 September resulted in 56 hours of lost production during the quarter,” OZ Minerals recently told the ASX.

“While open pit operations were unaffected during this time, underground ore production was restricted and processing halted entirely until power was restored on 13 October.”

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