Ramu Nickel mine is set to re-commence operations at the Basamuk Refinery. This was announced by the Chief Inspector of Mines Lave Michael granting the permission pursuant to powers under the Mining (Safety) Act 1977. Mr Michael explained that permission had been granted for the company to operate High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) trains 1 and 2 only, while train 3 would still be closed as it was still under investigation.
He said the permission was granted on June 28 onsite, after the company satisfactorily met the Inspector’s rectification requirements on trains 1 and 2. Trains are process facilities where slurry from the mine is separated into different mineral products. The permission comes after more than 11 weeks of cessation of operations, following a fatal incident on April 12 that resulted in the death of a Chinese national employee, and the serious injuries of two local employees.
The company was ordered by the Mineral Resources Authority’s Mine Inspector, to cease operations following the incident. The incident resulted from serious unsafe and defective management systems that were prevalent on the HPAL trains. As part of the cessation order, Ramu Nickel was tasked to engage an internationally reputable third party investigator, to carry out a thorough investigation and provide a detailed report on the three trains.
The report was submitted to the inspector on June 12 following which the inspector allowed the company to conduct remedial and repair works on the HPAL trains. Following this, inspectors visited the refinery on June 23 and conducted verification of the repair and remedial works which resulted in the granting of permission to operate HPAL trains 1 and 2. The Chief Inspector stated that it is government’s expectation that all mines operating in PNG do so safely and observe their regulatory responsibilities.