First Quantum Minerals to repair Ravensthorpe nickel plant in Australia

5 February 2015 (Last Updated February 5th, 2015 18:30)

First Quantum Minerals has announced that it will carry out repairs at its Ravensthorpe nickel plant in the Ravensthorpe district of Western Australia, following an acid spill in December.

Ravensthorpe

First Quantum Minerals has announced that it will carry out repairs at its Ravensthorpe nickel plant in the Ravensthorpe district of Western Australia, following an acid spill in December.

During this period, the mine is expected to run at 70% capacity with an expected output of 24,000t to 30,000t for the year.

Further, the company plans to cut 50 jobs at the nickel mine, saying that the positions are no longer required after the temporary closure in December.

In December, the company temporarily closed the plant following a burst atmospheric leach tank that spilled acidic slurry into a contained area around the tanks.

Initial production from the primary high-pressure circuit is expected to take place next week.

"The company plans to cut 50 jobs at the nickel mine, saying that the positions are no longer required."

First Quantum has not yet completed investigations into the cause of the accident at the mine.

Located 550km south-east of Perth, Ravensthorpe Nickel Operations is a nickel mine and hydrometallurgical processing plant.

The mine is said to be in stable, commercial production under the ownership of First Quantum Minerals' subsidiary FQM Australia Nickel, following a difficult commissioning phase under BHP Billiton, which cost $2.2bn to build.

After less than a year of operation, the mine led to $3.6bn in write-downs for BHP when it was shut down in January 2009.

First Quantum Minerals acquired the mine from BHP Billiton in December 2009 in a transaction worth $340m.

In its first full year of operation in 2012, the mine produced 32,884t of nickel.


Image: Ravensthorpe Nickel Operation plant. Photo: courtesy of First Quantum MInerals.