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Potosi trucks to hit the streets

Wednesday, 20th March, 2013

A map showing where traffic will now be required to give way due to Perilya’s trucks carting ore through the city’s streets from its Potosi mine. The dark line indicates the trucks’ route. A map showing where traffic will now be required to give way due to Perilya’s trucks carting ore through the city’s streets from its Potosi mine. The dark line indicates the trucks’ route.

By Erica Visser

Perilya will start transporting ore through the city late this week after almost two years of development at its Potosi mine.

It was previously hoped that a heavy vehicle bypass road would be built around the city by the time production started.

However, after winning a lengthy bid to secure Federal and State funding, City Council set back the signing of the contract late last year.

Council will not review its decision not to contribute $1.5 million to the project until it determines whether it would be forced to repay Perilya almost $7 million in excess rates.

In the meantime, public traffic will be forced to give way to heavy ore trucks which would drive up along South Road before turning around to travel right on Gypsum Street and then left into a side entrance of Perilya's Southern Operations.

Council put up signs warning the public of "changing traffic conditions", however it is yet to broadcast what exactly the changes are.

The original plan for the trucks to turn left at the corner of Gypsum and Gaffney streets was canned due to the size of the vehicles.

The new giveway priorities were approved by the Road and Maritime Services (RMS), formerly RTA, and will begin on Friday.

Perilya's general manager of Broken Hill Operations, David Hume said that initially one truck would travel from Potosi to the company's Southern
Operations every half an hour.

However, the company is permitted a maximum of six vehicles along the city's streets from Potosi every hour.

Operations at the silver, lead and zinc mine will start on a trial basis before upgrading to full-scale production at the end of the year.

The company in charge of the development, Redpath Mining Contractors and Engineers, will finish at the site at the end of the month.

Mr Hume said that about 30 employees would work there. "Some of the people are already employees, some we have recruited, but they are all locallybased not FIFO (Flyin, Fly-out).

"Some local workers are staying on from Red Path but there's a number of new starters going to Potosi and we've taken on some new trainees for here."

Mr Hume said that extra jobs would be available as the mine ramped up its production.

"At this stage you've got 15,000 tonnes of ore which was produced during development over the last few months," he said.

"Ore will be crushed at Potosi late this week and it will come from Potosi to the concentrator, so initially around 400 to 500 tonnes per day.

"We're confident that the trial will demonstrate the viability of the site."

Perilya invested $38 million into Potosi during the development phase.

It has a nominal lifespan of five to six years.

Mr Hume said the company would take the necessary measures to ensure the trucks did not pose a safety hazards to public traffic.

"I'm confident. We will be putting in place control measures to a very high standard," he said.

"That will include tracking the vehicles, driver training and fatigue management.

"We're confident we're doing everything we should and can do."

The trial would be constantly reviewed as Perilya "deepens the declines" of the ore body.

A spokesman for Council said that it would not advertise the road changes further, however information was available at its office.

The spokesman said that the NSW Government would fund the majority of the road's maintenance and Council would fund a section.

"The bulk of the route is a state road, so maintenance and repair costs are covered by the RMS," he said.

"The small section of road between the South Road and Gypsum Street intersection and the Perilya entrance on Gypsum street is maintained by Council but we receive funding for maintenance of regional roads."

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