Glencore will temporarily reduce production at the Murrin Murrin nickel-cobalt operation in Western Australia after a malfunction at the site’s acid plant.
A Glencore spokesperson said that one of the company’s two acid plant fans had suffered a component failure but couldn’t yet say how long the repairs would take.
“Operations at Murrin Murrin continue at reduced capacity whilst repairs are being completed,” he said.
Glencore, through its subsidiary Minara Resources, runs a 4400 tonnes a day acid plant at Murrin Murrin, making the plant one of the largest in the southern hemisphere.
Minara reported in 2011 that its acid plant endured a breakdown, forcing the plant to go offline while the company was obtaining a replacement for the failed heat exchanger unit.
The Murrin Murrin mine is one of Australia’s largest nickel and cobalt producers.
Glencore produced 2900 tonnes of cobalt and 36,400 tonnes of nickel at Murrin Murrin last year, which was slightly down on the 3400 tonnes and 36,600 tonnes that were produced in 2019, respectively.
Eighty per cent of cobalt produced at Murrin Murrin is used by BMW, thanks to its responsible production and meeting the high standards of the London Metal Exchange.
Glencore’s activity at the Koniambo nickel operation in New Caledonia is continuing, delivering under 17,000 tonnes of nickel in ferronickel last year.
The mine accounted for 31 per cent of Glencore’s nickel production in 2020.
At Murrin Murrin, Glencore uses conventional open pit mining methods before processing and refining nickel and cobalt laterite ore at its hydrometallurgical facility.
The Murrin Murrin mine is located between Leonora and Laverton in the north-eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia.