A regional power outage on 22 July 2016, followed by issues with emergency power backup systems, led to damage to the refractory lining of the Ausmelt furnace, which Dundee Precious Metals expected to take three weeks to repair.
The reheating of the furnace commenced on 9 August 2016 with first concentrate treatment occurring on 13 August 2016, as anticipated.
“We are pleased with the timely and efficient restart of the furnace,” says Dundee Precious Metals president and CEO Rick Howes.
“Our current focus is to stabilise the plant throughput and achieve maximum plant efficiency as we look forward to realising the benefits of our smelter optimisation projects during the remainder of 2016,” he says.
The company notes that the investigation of the incident identified a number of on-site opportunities that will mitigate risk associated with any potential future power interruptions.
In addition, during the shutdown new generator controls were implemented and design improvements were made to the furnace roof.
Modifications were made to the cooling system to prevent water ingress into the furnace and site personnel received additional training to increase emergency preparedness.
As a result of the outage, Dundee Precious Metals expects to see a reduction in 2016 concentrate throughput by approximately 20 000 t.