Ramu Nickel forecasts technical problems

Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd in Madang Province is concerned its project will face serious technical problems if it ceases operations for some time.

“Technically, it will be difficult to restart the operation circuit if the system is shut down for a longer period because we have debris of slurries in the holding tanks, pipes and HPAL that can be solidified and difficult to remove,” Ramu NiCo Management stated.

Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) mines inspectorate issued an order to cease HPAL (high pressure acid leach) operation at Basamuk Refinery since Friday, April 15, following the fatality of a Chinese employee and injury of two national employees at the refinery on April 12.

It’s more than two weeks now since the entire project operation has experienced an unplanned shut down. It is uncertain for how long the operation will take and depends on the incident investigation outcome by the independent third party and rectification approval by MRA.

“The refinery was shut down due to emergency procedures when the incident occurred as opposed to a planned shutdown where its implication on utilities and other systems cannot be ignored.

“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 the project to restart,” the management said.

The HPAL area is composed of slurry treatment, pre heating, pressure acid leach and leach flashing neutralisation, among others.

The company also expressed concern that its technical employees, both nationals and Chinese, when laid-off will find job elsewhere if the shutdown lasts longer.

“Loss of technical manpower during the shut-down will pose serious difficulties in our smooth restart and operation of the project.

“The temporary suspension of operations will unfortunately bring serious negative impacts on the project now and in the future, notably, the company’s financial situation will seriously be impacted from its already deficit operational budget since the commissioning of the project,” the management said.

Press Release