Orica expands to help create employment opportunities

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

ORICA has been given the go ahead for a $100 million expansion at their Yarwun plant which is set to create 150 to 200 construction jobs.

Approved by the Orica board in December, construction has already begun on the project.

The development will make the plant the biggest ammonium nitrate producer in Australia.

Plant manager Brett McNeil said the project was positive news for not only the company but the whole region.

"It's really a confirmation of Orica's commitment to the region,'' Mr McNeil said.

Mr McNeil said the expansion would also create about 25 permanent jobs at the plant.

Mr McNeil said the expansion was designed to meet help meet demand from the Bowen Basin coal mine activity.

Orica makes chemicals used to producing explosives for mining.

Its latest expansion will combine with two smaller projects to ultimately double the plant's capacity.

A debottleneck construction project was completed early last year.

A 25,000 tonne per year expansion is set to come on line in the coming months.

Mr McNeil said the site expansion was based on growing worldwide demand in the coal industry.

"In this part of the world, the main drivers of our business are China, Indonesia and Australia's East coast,'' Mr McNeil said.

"In Queensland we have seen expansions of existing mines and development of new mines in the Bowen Basin.''

Mr McNeil said as part of the expansion a third nitric acid plant and another ammonium nitrate prilling plant would be built.

The growth of the Yarwun plant will make it Orica's second largest producer of ammonium nitrate in the world.

It follows Calgary plant in Canada.

Construction of the $100 million expansion is expected to be completed in July of this year.



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