Briquette factory back online

ONE of the longest supply shortages in the history of Morwell’s EnergyBrix briquette factory’s production life has come to an end.

Shortage and quality issues in brown coal supplies from the Loy Yang mine brought production offline on three separate occasions over the past month, forcing management to stand workers down on an ad hoc basis.

The factory produces briquettes for use as a start-up fuel by Latrobe Valley’s power stations and to fire industrial boilers for about 50 customers Australia-wide.

The downtime, which on two occasions was caused by high-ash content in the supplied coal, has cut into the company’s efforts to stockpile briquettes, which it plans to continue to sell after the factory’s eventual closure, which could be as soon as mid-2014.

Mecrus director Barry Richards said the factory was offline for a total of 15 days, and despite efforts to find workers other jobs, it was the first time workers had to be stood down for this reason at the factory.

“This one has been a reasonably big hit for us, and while we are due to be back in full production soon, we just drained all our stockpile reserves,” Mr Richards said.