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EPCM retrofit to put Australian copper refinery at forefront of safety and efficiency

May 1, 2021

The BHP Olympic Dam in Australia is one of the world’s largest copper resources, and when it needed to be updated with state-of-the-art cathode stripping machinery and safety features, EPCM got the call.

In the spring of 2021, that collaboration reached a significant milestone: the successful integration and factory acceptance of a new, high-capacity, robotic Cathode Stripping Machine (CSM). The next milestone, underway throughout the summer of 2021, is disassembling the entire system, shipping it to Australia, and enabling its reassembly at the refinery early next year.

Crucially, because of the innovative, high-speed, and compact design of the new machinery, the system is able to fit into the refinery’s existing building space. This will reduce the overall installation time and significantly minimize disruption to the refinery’s current operations.

“Once the new EPCM Automation systems are fully operational in the fall, the Olympic Dam refinery will see more efficiency and higher uptime thanks to automation, ease of maintenance, and significantly increased safety measures for employees,” said John Jickling, CEO of EPCM.

For example, unique to the EPCM Automation technologies at the refinery will be maintenance pendants, which minimize risk to maintenance employees by ensuring all safety protocols are followed.

Ultimately, that means lower costs, safer employees and higher revenues as the refinery grows its operations.

  • Read more about how EPCM approached the unique engineering puzzle of the Olympic Dam refinery on our blog.
  • Contact us to learn more about EPCM cathode stripping machines and automation solutions like those being installed at the Olympic Dam.

About EPCM: 
Established in 1980, EPCM is a global engineering, procurement, and construction management firm. We address our clients’ most difficult manufacturing and operational challenges by applying our bold thinking, industry insights, end-to-end services, and global capability.