OK Tedi Mining Ltd has temporarily suspended production at the Ok Tedi mine following concerns over a series of small ruptures in the company’s pyrite pipeline, The National reports.
The pipeline, commissioned in 2008, transports pyrite concentrates 128km from the tailings processing plant at the mine, along the Tabubil-Kiunga highway and on to Bige to underwater storage pits.
Four small ruptures occurred in some sections of the pipeline in the past weeks causing spillage in a localised area along the highway.
Although the ruptures had been repaired and a clean-up programme implemented, OTML board and executive management had decided to take a cautious approach and have suspended ore production at the mine and mill to allow further investigations and tests on the pipeline.
This would determine the cause of the problem and provide information for redesigning and upgrading of the pipeline to prevent these failures occurring again.
OTML environmental science officers and community relations staff were engaged in testing and monitoring the environment surrounding the ruptures in addition to supervising the clean-up operation.
Managing director Nigel Parker said yesterday: “We are taking a careful, responsible approach to managing the situation and are consulting with affected communities and with regulatory authorities including the Western administration and the Mineral Resources Authority.”