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Ramu Nico Mine expects problems

Staff Reporter | 12:50 AM |
RAMU Nico, the operator of the Ramu Nickel and Cobalt mine in Madang, is concerned that the project will face serious technical problems when it resumes operations after a long stoppage.
The Mineral Resource Authority had ordered operations to stop at the mine’s high pressure acid leach at the Basamuk refinery on April 15 following an incident which killed an expat and injured two locals.
“It’s more than two weeks now since the entire project operation has experienced an unplanned shut down,” a company statement said.
“The duration of the order is uncertain and depends on the incident investigation outcome by the independent third party and rectification approval by MRA.”
It said the refinery was shut down due to an emergency procedure after the incident occurred, as opposed to a planned shutdown “where its implication on utilities and other systems cannot be ignored”.
“Technically, it would be difficult to restart the operation circuit if the system is shut down for a long period because we have debris of slurries in the holding tanks, pipes and HPAL that could be solidified and difficult to remove.
“The holding chemical reagent mixing with moisture after a period of inaction due to non-production cycle may cause internal corrosion, making it difficult for project to restart,” the company stated.
It said the HPAL area was composed of slurry treatment, pre-heating, pressure acid leach and leach flashing neutralization.
The company is also concerned that its technical workers if laid off would find jobs elsewhere.
“Loss of technical manpower during the shutdown would pose serious difficulties in our smooth restart and operation of the project.”