Orica Blasts Faulty Chinese Welding After Yara Shutdown

Yara’s billion dollar-plus Pilbara explosives plant was shut down after a “terminal cancer of leaks” caused by faulty welding done in China, according to part-owner Orica.

But Orica chief executive Alberto Calderon is optimistic the plant, expected to restart in the first half of 2020, will serve the Pilbara for decades with wireless detonator technology allowing the automation of drilling and blasting.

Mr Calderon said the 330,000 tonnes-a-year plant, which began operating in 2016, made quality technical ammonium nitrate “but after producing about 70,000 tonnes the leaks became unsustainable”.

Speaking after the release of Orica’s half-year results yesterday, he said Norwegian partner Yara, in charge of building and operating the plant, did not sufficiently manage the quality of work done in China.