On 23 February 2012, BHP Billiton announced a 90-day suspension of operations at its TEMCO1 manganese alloy facility in Tasmania, Australia, to review the economic viability of continuing operations. With that review now complete, BHP Billiton is pleased to announce that TEMCO operations will be restarted, with planning for a safe and full restart of the operation to commence immediately. The company’s intention is to have all four furnaces operating by the end of August 2012.
BHP Billiton Manganese Australia Asset President, Bryan Quinn, said: “In February the decision was taken to suspend production at TEMCO due to operating losses. Extensive stakeholder consultation and assessment of all options for TEMCO has been undertaken over the last three months. Thanks to the extensive investigation by TEMCO employees of these options, and the flexibility provided by several stakeholders, significant cost reduction opportunities have been identified, primarily in the areas of workforce efficiency, power supply flexibility, ore blending and freight optimisation. These changes should allow TEMCO to return to a globally competitive position”.
BHP Billiton Manganese President, Tom Schutte, said: “One of the key changes as we restart will be the operational separation of the TEMCO alloying facility from the GEMCO mine, located in the Northern Territory. This separation introduces the ability to blend in other ore sources, which will improve operating performance while also allowing us to consider the strategic fit of the TEMCO operation inside BHP Billiton’s portfolio”.
A reduced organisational structure will be implemented for the restart. This will be achieved through natural attrition, an employment freeze and redeployment within BHP Billiton.
1 TEMCO is part of the manganese joint venture between BHP Billiton (60%) and Anglo American (40%) and when operating produces approximately 65,000 tonnes of Silico Manganese and 240,000 tonnes of High Carbon Ferro Manganese. BHP Billiton is the Manager and Operator.