09/06/2008 - 14:22

WA industries to deliver energy audit

09/06/2008 - 14:22

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The Carpenter government's newly formed energy working group will be seeking more details tonight on the impact of the state's gas crisis on local industries, as it continues to develop its contigency plans.

WA industries to deliver energy audit

The Carpenter government's newly formed energy working group will be seeking more details tonight on the impact of the state's gas crisis on local industries, as it continues to develop its contigency plans.

A spokesperson for the Premier's office said the working group will meet at 6pm to coordinate strategies to the state's reduced gas supply that resulted from a fire at Apache Energy Ltd's Varanus Island gas facility last week.

The working group, established over the weekend, is being led by the Premier's office and also includes representatives from the energy minister's office, Office of Energy, Wester Power, Alinta, Synergy, Verve Energy, the Dampier to Bunbury pipeline, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

CCIWA said the group's first order was to gather accurate information about the impact on the business community to understand the demand and supply situation for electricity, gas and other fuels.

The CCI have today been busy compiling information from its members of how the reduced gas supply was impacting on business.

Masters Builders Association of WA housing director Gavan Forster told WA Business News that it had today completed an audit on the state's major building material suppliers, with the information to be presented at tonight's meeting.

Mr Forster said of concern were brick suppliers which had converted to electricity at the cost of up to several hundred dollars per house.

"They have got some stocks available and are currently looking at importing bricks from the eastern states to supplement supply, depending on how long the problem is," Mr Forster said.

Mr Forster added that other material industries in danger of suffering from shortages were the plaster/fibrous boards sector, which is heavily dependant on gas, and the timber industry which is currently looking at contingency plans that includes standing down workers.

Currently the timber industry has a month's stock supply.

A spokesman for the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy said the organisation was currently surveying its membership on the issue.

The mining sector is one of the hardest hit industries by the power shortage, with companies affected including Norton Gold Fields Ltd, Newmont Mining Ltd, Oxiana Ltd, Jabiru Metals Ltd and Alcoa.

Iluka Resources Ltd spokesperson Robert Porter said the company was served with a force majeure notice by electricity supplier Alinta late last week, and has since had to conduct a staged shut down of its mineral sands operations in the Mid West and South West.

"In effect we've taken down all of our operations, there are some small mining activities occurring in the Mid West and we are running one of the kilns at a sort of lower production rate in the South West," Mr Porter told WA Business News.

"Unless we get gas soon, all of our operations will effectively cease by the end of this week or next week."

Mr Porter added that the company have held discussions with Alinta over the weekend and had been locked in a meeting today concerning the securing as gas supplies.

Meanwhile Minara Resources Ltd is believed to soon announce an agreement in relation to securing additional gas supplies for the short term.

The company's Murrin Murrin operation is dependant on gas for the production of nickel.

 

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