Leading explosives manufacturer Orica is investing in Papua New Guinea with a new plant set to supply a safer, cost effective form of bulk explosives to benefit the country's surface and underground mining industry.
The Lae Noise plant is on track to being commissioned in June 2021.
The plant will produce Ammonium Nitrate Emulsion (ANE), the bulk product preferred by mining operations in a wet climate.
Orica already has a large customer base in PNG and is looking forward to being the only supplier offering this regional level of service, on top of its two explosive storage complexes in Port Moresby and Lae.
Orica's Territory Manager for PNG and the Pacific Islands, Denis Brassard, said "An ammonium nitrate emulsion (ANE) plant required significant capital investment so only larger operations could afford their own ANE plants onsite."
Smaller customers have had to rely on a combination of package explosives and ANFO, as using ANE in small quantities had been cost prohibitive. Medium-sized customers had to rely on overseas imports, and operations faced costly shutdowns if they did not receive the product on time.
The new plant will solve these issues.
The possibility of regular deliveries means customers will no longer need charter vessels at significant cost to stockpile the product onsite."It's a bulk product so depending on quantities, it's three to eight times more cost effective than packaged explosives and with the new plant, no customer will be too small, we can deliver by 1.3t IBC," Brassard said.
Ammonium nitrate emulsion is a non-flammable viscous liquid, that requires very specific conditions of pressure and temperature to eventually detonate. Orica's ANE is extremely safe for transportation, due to the water content of the formulations utilised worldwide.
Orica has been manufacturing and supplying explosives for over 140 years, and has a wealth of knowledge and experience building similar boutique ANE plants (producing circa 5,000tpa) across New Zealand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Support for the community
The company has been waiting for the right conditions in PNG to go ahead with the plant build but the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic slowed plans last year.
Construction resumed in November 2020 and has created more than 20 jobs in the local community.
Orica is keen to develop a larger level of local specialist expertise that is currently only available through expatriates.
"We strongly believe Orica PNG can achieve this with assembling a national workforce and bringing it to fruition. The benefit of the new plant is that is has capability to supply future growth in the PNG mining sector and overseas," said James Kirkpatrick, Area Business Manager Metals East Australia, Pacific & New Zealand
Alexsander Taniyaola, Orica's Graduate Technical Service Engineer who himself is a product of the Lae University tertiary education program, gained experience in the construction of the plant. "I've learnt so much about ANE during the construction process, I am excited to see what the future holds and to be able to provide technical advice to our customers," he said.
During an interview in mid-May, Brassard said "The plant was close to 85% complete, with commissioning just weeks away."
An official opening with dignitaries is being planned for July 2021.
For more information, please contact:
ORICA'S TOWNSVILLE OFFICE
- 165 Boundary Street
- South Townsville QLD
- TEL: +61 7 4720 8203
- WEB: orica.com
- EMAIL: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org