Nyrstar Transformation Project
The Nyrstar Port Pirie Transformation project will deliver an innovative and sustainable solution to the current environmental and technical challenges facing the Nyrstar Port Pirie operation. If commissioned, the new facility is expected to have an operating life in excess of 30 years.
The Port Pirie Smelter has been in continuous operation since 1889, with many of the core production assets having been in service for up to 60 years. While considered best practice at the time, these assets are no longer capable of meeting the increasingly stringent environmental and operational standards expected of a modern base metals facility.
Nyrstar has reached an in-principle funding and support agreement with the South Australian and Commonwealth Governments to redevelop the Port Pirie smelter (the “Transformation”). The Transformation, subject to feasibility studies, would include investment in new technology to upgrade the facility to an advanced poly-metallic processing and recovery facility capable of processing a wide range of high value, high margin raw materials and resulting in an improved environmental footprint and a step change reduction in airborne metal and dust emissions.
The progression of the first phase of the Transformation into execution is dependent on the successful completion of pre-feasibility and bankable feasibility studies, which is expected to complete by the end of 2013. Assuming that the Transformation is to be completed as expected, commissioning of the new plant is expected to occur early in 2016.
Nyrstar’s strategic solution involves transforming its Port Pirie operations away from that of a primary lead smelter into a highly flexible poly-metallic processing and recovery facility. Outdated process plant will be permanently decommissioned in favour of state-of-the-art, best available technology.
Specifically, the proven technology will replace the outdated sinter plant with a state-of-the-art oxygen enriched bath smelting furnace, coupled to an electricity cogeneration facility and a new sulphuric acid plant.
Application of fully enclosed bath smelting technology will both deliver a step change reduction in emissions from the site and allow a greater range of valuable metals to be recovered and produced. A potential Stage Two would allow replacement of the existing blast furnace with a second bath smelting furnace, further improving process efficiency.
High temperature, oxygen enriched bath smelting is acknowledged globally as best available technology for integrated base metals production and has a range of features and benefit.
Council believes that the Nyrstar Transformation Project represents not only a significant $350 million investment in the City, but it will also provide the certainty required to attract other business investment in the Region. Council and its partners will be seeking to leverage off of the Nyrstar Investment and seek to diversify the regional economy by providing more employment opportunities to the residents of Port Pirie.