IGO races to restore Nova mine after fire causes total shutdown

Western Australia mine safety authorities have launched an investigation into the cobalt-copper-nickel mine in wake of the fire, which is said to have caused extensive damages.

Operations at IGO’s Nova mine, located in the Fraser Range near Balladonia, have been officially suspended after the site’s diesel engine room went up in flames.

The mine houses a hybrid solar and diesel plant supplied and operated by Zenith Energy, which plans to operate the mine and processing plant for up to nine hours at a time via renewable generation.

The mine is expected to go offline for the next several weeks as only essential staff remain on-site. IGO is reportedly working with Zenith Energy to restore power by transporting generators to the scene.

Acting IGO chief executive officer Matt Dusci confirmed to the Australian Financial Review that the Nova mine would cease production for several weeks.

“We are thankful that all our people are safe and unharmed,” he said. “We have activated our contingency plans and will work to re-establish operations at Nova as quickly and safely as possible.”

IGO’s supply of nickel concentrate has been called into question due to these events. The company has begun talks with potential partners to provide off-take volumes out of its Nova and Forrestania mines that will now aim to supplement the loss in activity.

IGO has already conducted deals to supply nickel concentrate with BHP and Tragifura, but is still struggling to offload 50 per cent of Nova’s nickel supply and all of Forrestania’s nickel supply.

IGO’s partnership with Wyloo Metals earlier this year also brings the opportunity to establish a nickel sulphate plant in WA in order to move further into the battery mineral market.

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