Incitec Pivot yesterday took delivery of a vital part to fix its waste hear boiler, after the boiler’s failure two weeks ago forced the company’s acid plant to close.
Delivering the equipment from Europe was one of the largest planes to ever land in Mount Isa, a 50 metre Russian Ilyushin I1-76 cargo plane, the North West Star reported.
Pilot Andrew Erstropov said despite heavy cargo and the size of the plane, Mount Isa airport handled the situation well.
“The condition of the runway was good and the weather was clear, there were no problems,” he said.
Having the ability to handle such a large aircraft allows Rockhampton Airport to cater to all different industry requirements, councillor and chair of council’s business enterprise committee Neil Fisher said.
“This is an aircraft that is capable of carrying five Apache helicopters,” he said.
“If we can handle the Antonov, we can easily use our resources to cater to the needs of the mining community, enabling Central Queensland mines to have their equipment shipped in by air rather than by road.” Fisher said.
The acid plant is still expected to be shut for one month an Incitec Pivot spokesperson said.
This will lead to decreased ammonium nitrate production at Phosphate Hill and losses estimated at $25 million before tax, Australian Mining reported earlier this month.
Australian Mining found that the extended closure of Incitec Pivot's acid plant in Queensland had resulted in Xstrata's copper smelter's increasing sulphur dioxide emission levels.
The acid plant near Mount Isa previously took around 80 per cent of the Mount Isa Mines' smelter's byproducts and emissions to create sulphuric acid for fertilisers.
While it is shut down emissions are all released via the stack.
"During the shut down maintenance period of Incitec Pivot Limited, 100 per cent of our sulphur dioxide is sent through to our copper stack," an Xstrata spokesperson explained.
She went on to stress that the increased emissions would not reach harmful levels.