Orica to expand Kooragang Island operations

 Orica has submitted additional information to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure for the expansion of its manufacturing operations on Kooragang Island.

The initial expansion of its manufacturing operations was approved in 2009, with the company applying for modifications to its original plans in April 2011 which focused on site layout improvements.

Less than six months later the plant recorded the first in a series of chemical spills, which plagued the company and forced it to voluntarily shut down operations at the site for close to seven months.

During its restart process the explosives manufacturing repeatedly put the operation on hold as it encountered a number of difficulties and was satisfied with safety outcomes.

At the time, Orica CEO Graeme Liebelt said “the safety of the community, our people and the environment remains our top priority as we resume the restart. Plants such as this are very complex and we will continue to take a cautious approach to the restart. We will not hesitate to suspend the process again if required".

In its latest submission for site expansion, Orica general manager Australia/Asia James Bonner said the improvements to its pressurised ammonia infrastructure are incorporated into the expansion approvals and modifications.

"These improvements are focused on reducing risk and supporting the long term operation of the site," Bonner said.

"The changes to site layout are designed to enhance the safe operation of the site and to improve internal traffic management."

According to the company the expansion project is one aspect of a wider Kooragang capital works program designed to improve the site’s safety and environmental performance.