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Olympic Dam Back

Posted: 23/06/2015 5:00:00 AM by Mining Oil and Gas Jobs
Filed under: Mining, Oil-and-gas, Job-seekers

Reports from BHP pointed towards a long period of repairs maybe as much as 24 weeks taking the mine into July and possibly August 2015 for the Svedala mill. The issue arose from an electrical fault which damaged a motor coil. BHP further advised the repairs have now taken place and this has resulted in the mill resuming operations to full capacity. The company now intends to increase production at the mill which is the largest at Olympic Dam

A BHP spokesperson was quoted as saying "A repair and remediation plan was implemented and this week the mill has recommenced operation, having passed all commissioning checks" The spokesperson further added "The mill's operations will be ramped up over the coming weeks and a return to full production at Olympic Dam is expected by the end of July 2015."

Estimates from the company seemed to indicate that production output at the mine would be reduced by between 60,000 tonnes and 70,000 tonnes. That estimate is still a distinct possibility according to BHP.

The Olympic Dam outage and weather issues near the Escondida mine in Chile prompted BHP to announce in April that copper production for the 2015 financial year would be reduced by 100,000 tonnes, from 1.8 million tonnes to 1.7 million tonnes.

As an unintended consequence, the reduced production has coincided with the weakest
copper prices since 2009. The red metal was fetching $US2.56 per pound on Sunday. Despite the short-term price weakness, a number of experts predict a copper shortage after 2017 as existing mines start to produce lower grade ores or shut.

Other news of significance in copper is that the climate has changed resulting in renewed optimism for the commodity BHP and its partners in Escondida have made an offer for Barrick's Zaldivar copper mine, which is near Escondida. Two significant partners in that project are Rio Tinto and Mitsubishi
BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie was heard to say in the last quarter "we are looking at things
all the time, particularly in oil and copper".

Currently BHP and Rio are also partners in the Resolution copper project in Arizona, which
recently agreed to a 980-hectare land swap as part of a settlement with Indigenous groups.

The commodities spokesperson for Laura Gunnis commented that this was welcome news for jobseekers as employees are moving between industries to accommodate changing commodity prices.

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