PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Diversified miner BHP Billiton is keeping its Hay Point coal terminal closed, after weather conditions in Queensland deteriorated further.
The coal terminal, which handles coal from various mines managed by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance in the Bowen basin, was closed on March 11, owing to high winds and rough seas.
“We will continue to monitor conditions to decide when it is safe to reopen the terminal,” BHP Billiton said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.
The company added that it expected to recover from the impact, subject to ongoing weather conditions.
BHP Billiton is planning to expand the capacity of the Hay Point terminal. In January, it had approved $267-million to accelerate the development of the Caval Ridge and Hay Point coal terminal stage 3 expansion (HPX3) projects.
The HPX3 project is expected to increase the annual capacity of the Hay Point terminal from 44-million tons a year to 55-million tons a year.
Meanwhile, the diversified miner also confirmed on Wednesday that production at its Kwinana nickel refinery, in Western Australia, had been interrupted, owing to a temporary shortage of hydrogen.
It was unclear at this stage how nickel production would be affected.
The Kwinana nickel refinery uses the Sherritt-Gordon ammonia leach process to convert nickel matte from the Kalgoorlie nickel smelter into LME-grade nickel briquettes.
The refinery also produces nickel powder and a number of intermediate products, including copper sulphide, cobalt-nickel sulphide and ammonium sulphate.
The Kwinana refinery has a capacity of about 65 000 t/y of nickel metal.