Inspectors in Madang to investigate Basamuk incident

The Mines Inspectorate from Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) is in Madang to investigate the incident at Basamuk Refinery that caused one fatality and two injuries.

They arrived at Ramu NiCo’s Basamuk Refinery on April 14 to conduct a preliminary investigation into the April 12 case.

MRA deputy chief inspector of mine, Lave Michael, and inspectortor Andrew Onguglo arrived from Port Moresby and will work to establish the cause of the incident and advise the Company on future outcomes.

Ramu NiCo is cooperating fully with the inspectors.

“We had immediately advised MRA at the time of the incident and are providing any resources necessary to the inspecting team here. We will continue to work closely to establish the cause to this unexpected and regrettable incident,” the Company management said.

At about 7.46am on Tuesday, April 12, HPAL (High Pressure Acid Leaching) operator Guo Wei, of Chinese nationality, with two other national employees were carrying out a HPAL preheating process with high pressure steam when the incident occurred.

“Our emergency response team with medical officers tried to resuscitate Guo but he passed away. It deeply saddens us that Ramu NiCo lost a colleague.”

“The two nationals were immediately airlifted by helicopter to Modilon General Hospital where one has been discharged and is now back at Basamuk Refinery, while another is recovering and his situation is stable,” the Company management said.

Ramu NiCo’s Beijing office is in contact with the family members and assistance is being provided to the family of Guo.

The immediate working area at Basamuk refinery has been secured to ensure no further injury to our employees at the incident site, they stated.

“We also advise family members and relatives that all employees are safe at Basamuk,” Ramu NiCo management said.

Since the project load commissioning in December 6, 2012, and official production commencement, this is the first fatality encountered by the only nickel and cobalt project in the country.

Production has been shut down at Basamuk Refinery since April 12 pending investigation until further notice from MRA.

The project achieved above 90 percent production design capacity early this year on operational loss budget given the low commodity prices, technical challenges and other international and locally challenging environments.

Reuben Tabel