Earlier today, battery metals miner IGO [ASX:IGO] revealed an unfortunate event at its nickel, copper, and cobalt producing asset, the Nova mine.
A fire broke out at the operation over the weekend, damaging the company’s power station and forcing all operations into suspension, though, thankfully no injuries were reported.
With power supply yet to be restored, mining operations aren’t expected to recommence for another two weeks.
By the afternoon, IGO’s share price had fallen more than 3%, and yet the diversified miner is still riding on a sizeable increase in share value this year — up 56% over the past 52 weeks.
Fire at Nova, IGO reports damage and operation suspension
The battery minerals company revealed the fire had broken out early on Saturday morning, damaging its 10MW Nova power station, owned and operated by Zenith Energy, the company’s power partner.
IGO reported quick action from its emergency response team, which were said to have isolated and extinguish the fire.
There were no injuries, and IGO stated that all personnel were safe.
The company did report extensive damage, though, most of this had been inflicted on the diesel engine room where the fire had been contained.
IGO reassured its investors that there’s been no further damage to the infrastructure or battery stores.
Operations at the mine have been suspended and only essential staff remain onsite.
Authorities specialising in mine safety in the West Australian region have now launched an investigation into what had been the cause of the fire.
IGO stated that it can foresee mining operations starting up again in two weeks; however, restoring full power supply to operate the company’s processing facility may take closer to four weeks.
IGO’s Acting CEO Matt Dusci commented:
‘While this incident will result in the Nova operation being offline for several weeks, we are thankful that all of our people are safe and unharmed. I am also grateful to our Emergency Response Team for their quick and professional response and for restricting the fire to the engine room. We have activated our contingency plans and are working closely with Zenith to re-establish operations at Nova as quickly and safely as possible.’
IGO to report figures at later date, lithium in focus
The company expects to provide an update on Nova’s production and cash cost guidance as part of its December quarterly report, which will be due for release on 31 January.
In a possible effort to inject some positivity, IGO also provided a separate announcement to announce that its joint venture with Tianqi Lithium has now reached commercial production from Train 1 of the Kwinana Lithium Hydroxide Refinery, effective 30 November.
Product qualification for the battery-grade lithium hydroxide, as well as its certification, is said to be ongoing along with the search for potential offtake customers.
Train 1’s Kwinana Lithium Hydroxide production is expected to ramp up over the course of 2023.
The company is in talks with potential nickel concentrate offtake partners and is also looking into building a nickel sulphate plant with Wyloo Metals.
In this last quarter, IGO’s nickel concentrate from both Nova and Forrestania had reduced by 50% in supply contracts.
IGO is still searching for new leadership, having lost its long-serving CEO Peter Bradford in October.
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For The Daily Reckoning Australia