Kalgoorlie will become Australia's leading centre for packaged explosive manufacture under upgrading plans approved for ICI Australia Operations Pty Ltd's Kalgoorlie explosives reserve.
Deputy Premier and Goldfields Minister Ian Taylor today welcomed ICI's decision to update its manufacturing operations at the Kalgoorlie reserve.
"The significance of the upgrade is that the Kalgoorlie plant is replacing all of ICI's manufacturing operations for packaged product at Deer Park in Victoria, making the Goldfields the centre for distribution of this product in Australia," Mr Taylor said.
"The modifications mean that the output of the plant will be doubled.
"By the end of January, when the modifications are complete, the staff employed at this plant will have increased to 30 from the original 12."
Mr Taylor said discussions were underway between the company and the Department of Minerals and Energy's Explosives and Dangerous Goods Division to revise shift operations and to ensure public safety would not be compromised by any expansion.
ICI Explosives now has a total capital investment of $33 million and employs around 90 people in the Eastern Goldfields.
Its Kalgoorlie plant supplies to explosives operations throughout Australia and the technology developed locally is also being introduced to ICI's overseas associates.
"ICI has been a part of Kalgoorlie almost as long as Kalgoorlie has been in existence," Mr Taylor said.
"It established its first explosives magazine here in March, 1894 and has survived in the Eastern Goldfields through the best and worst of economic climates.
"One of our biggest secondary industries, it is an example of how the Goldfields can be a national leader, not only in mining but in related fields of expertise."