Orica to Conduct Testing to Resume Running Explosives Plant

Orica Ltd. (ORI), the world’s biggest maker of industrial explosives, is doing safety tests at its Kooragang ammonium nitrate plant in Australia’s New South Wales state to get approval to restart operations.

The plant, which supplies about 80 percent of the explosives used by the state’s mining industry, has been shut since it released ammonia vapor on Nov. 9. The New South Wales office of Environment and Heritage ordered Orica to test its operating system in preparation for restarting the plant, according to a statement on the office’s website.

The company “is doing some testing of a few systems particularly the steam system on the plant” Nicole Ekert, a spokeswoman for Orica, said by telephone today. “The office of environment and heritage will be meeting this week so we’re not going to be talking about any start-up date until we have received their approval.”

Orica said last week it is seeking alternative sources of supply for its customers after the shutdown. Rio Tinto Group (RIO), the world’s second-biggest mining company, has said some of its coal mines have been affected by the shutdown.

To contact the reporter on this story: Soraya Permatasari in Melbourne at soraya@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Keenan at rkeenan5@bloomberg.net; Andrew Hobbs at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net

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