Engineering & Mining Journal

JUN 2013

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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NEWS-LEADING DEVELOPMENTS the next three years and by permanently closing the plant's two Soderberg potlines. Alcoa now expects the new potline to be in service in 2019 instead of 2016, subject to approval by the Alcoa board. The change in the construction schedule was made in response to conditions in the aluminum market, where the price dropped from about $0.98/lb in mid-December 2012 to about $0.82/lb in mid-May 2013. The price of aluminum hit a recent peak above $1.20/lb in early June 2011. The $100-million investment at Baie-Comeau includes $30 million that will be used to upgrade the plant's casthouse facilities in support of the growing automotive market. This is in addition to $75 million already dedicated to rebuild the Baie-Comeau port facilities to better meet the future needs of a modernized plant. "The government of Québec proved to be very open to reviewing the schedule when it became important for Alcoa to adapt to market realities and make the project as cost-effective as possible," said Martin Brière, president of Alcoa Canada Primary Products. "These efforts will help move our Baie-Comeau plant down the global aluminum cost curve, and continue to provide important economic benefits to the region." The closure of the two Soderberg potlines, which are among the highest-cost smelting capacity in the Alcoa system, will be complete in August. The two lines Tunnel Collapse Kills 28 at Freeport Indonesia Underground Training Facility A tunnel and underground training classroom at Freeport Indonesia's Grasberg operations in Papua province, Indonesia, collapsed on May 14 killing 28 people, while 10 escaped. Rescue and recovery operations were difficult and required several days to complete. The last of the victims' bodies were recovered on May 22. The Freeport Indonesia underground training facility was located some distance from the nearest mining operations—the mines were not impacted. However, the company halted mine operations out of respect for the dead and to allow its employees to focus on recovery efforts. The training facility had been in use since 1998. As of late May, both Freeport and the government were conducting investigations into the cause of the tunnel collapse, which came with little or no warning. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold CEO Richard Adkerson traveled from the company's headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, to Indonesia to provide support for the workers' families and to lend weight to the company's investigative efforts. "With the recovery work completed, we are now focusing on reviewing safety throughout our underground operations and in determining what caused the collapse. We will take all actions required to provide for the safety of our workforce," Adkerson said at a press conference in Jakarta on May 22. Freeport Indonesia is owned 90.64% by Freeport-McMoRan and 9.36% by the government of Indonesia. The Grasberg mines produce about 220,000 mt/d of ore, 140,000 from an open pit and 80,000 mt/d from underground. Some mine workers returned to work on May 25 to perform maintenance operations. How long it would take to get the mines back into production remained an open question. Freeport Indonesia rescue team works to clear fallen ground in the collapsed tunnel at the company's underground training facility. (Photo taken May 17, 2013; rights owned by PT Freeport Indonesia) JUNE 2013 • E&MJ 9

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