BHP to close Perseverance nickel mine – by Oliver Probert (Australian Journal of Mining – December 19, 2013)

BHP has ceased operations at its Perseverance mine in Leinster, WA, after the mine was shut following seismic activity in October.

Perseverance was closed on October 31 this year, after nine miners were trapped following a 3.7 magnitude earthquake. All nine were returned to the surface safely, and there were no injuries reported.

After further investigation, BHP has decided to formally cease operations at Perseverance, but will continue to maintain the underground mine – leaving the door open for the potential re-opening of the mine down the track.

BHP’s Leinster operations are part of its Nickel West business unit. “Since the [seismic] event, Nickel West technical and operational teams, supported by independent experts, have been assessing the technical data and risks on the sub-level cave operations and all the options available,” BHP said on Tuesday.

“Following this analysis BHP Billiton has decided it is unable to safely resume operations in the sub-level cave at Perseverance mine.”

Nickel West will continue to operate its processing facilities at Leinster, along with its other operations in Western Australia, and will continue to maintain the underground infrastructure in Perseverance mine.

In addition, mining will resume at Rocky’s Reward open cut mine, near Leinster, to provide an alternative ore supply to BHP’s integrated business, the company said.

Around 200 people are expected to be affected by the closure, but BHP said it will try to find redeployment opportunities within Nickel West for those affected.

“The decision to cease operations in the sub-level cave at Perseverance mine will lead to a reduction in the operational workforce at Leinster and impact valued stakeholders,” BHP said.

Nickel West asset president, Paul Harvey, said the company would continue to work closely with employees.

“The health, safety and wellbeing of our people is paramount; it is the first of Our Charter values. As this change is implemented, we will continue to treat our people and stakeholders with the utmost care and respect and maintain our strong focus on safety,” he said.

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