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PNG MRA stops Ramu NiCo mine operation

THE Mineral Resources Authority has ordered Ramu NiCo Management Ltd to stop the operation of its high pressure acid leach in Basamuk, Madang, according to the company.
The order also includes the withdrawal of people working in the high pressure acid leach (HPAL) area.
Ramu Nico confirmed that the order was issued last Friday following the death of a Chinese employee and the injury to two locals at the refinery last Tuesday.
Because operations and production at the Basamuk refinery have ceased, Kurumbukari mine also stopped mining last Tuesday until the Basamuk refinery returns to normal operation.
The company said that at around 7.50am last Tuesday, the Chinese expatriate and two locals were conducting a HPAL preheating task using high pressure steam when the incident occurred.
The MRA conducted a preliminary review on Thursday, April 14, and ordered Ramu NiCo to cease operations on the three autoclaves until specific conditions were met.
The company said production throughput had been stopped.
Ancillary equipment external to HPAL could be operated and maintained as required.
The mines inspectors told the company to provide a third party, internationally reputable person/s to conduct an investigation on the incident, establish root cause failure analysis and recommend future establishment of applicable control measures.
The company said: “We assure all stakeholders that we will continue to work with MRA and independent investigator/s to determine incident root cause and enact recommendations given by external experts.”
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