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UPDATE 1-Power restored to mines in South Australia after blackout
October 12, 2016 / 9:01 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Power restored to mines in South Australia after blackout

(Adds Nyrstar, mine details and background)

By Tom Westbrook

SYDNEY, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Electricity has been restored to mining and industrial areas in South Australia, including BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine, the electricity utility said, a fortnight after a storm blacked out the entire state.

“ElectraNet’s industrial customers now have full load levels available to them,” it said in a statement. A spokesman confirmed that this included the Olympic Dam mine.

Mining at Olympic Dam and at Oz Minerals’ Prominent Hill copper mine was halted when a storm destroyed power transmission lines and blacked out South Australia on September 28.

A BHP Billiton spokeswoman could not immediately say if production at the copper mine had restarted.

Oz Minerals could not immediately be reached for comment.

After the blackout, power was restored to most metropolitan retail customers within 24 hours, but it took longer to reconnect industrial customers, particularly those in the state’s far reaches.

Full production at a Nyrstar lead smelter resumed on Wednesday, the company said, bringing back online a 185,000 tonnes-per-year facility.

Olympic Dam produced 203,000 tonnes of copper in fiscal 2016, or about 13 percent of company-wide output.

Oz Minerals has said the Prominent Hill mine should yield up to 125,000 tonnes of copper this year.

Australia will conduct an independent review into the blackout, which caused chaos in downtown Adelaide and set lead futures galloping to their highest level in 16 months when the Nyrstar smelter shut down. (Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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