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A major shutdown project at Moranbah’s Dyno Nobel ammonium nitrate plant is set to swell local workforce numbers by about 550.

Parent company Incitec Pivot said the turnaround of the Moranbah plant was set to run for about seven weeks from early May, with on-site preparations beginning next month.

Incitec Pivot managing director and chief executive officer Jeanne Johns said Monadelphous would act as general contractor for the upcoming project.

“In addition, we are engaging the services of around 20 contractors specialised in a range of areas including electrical, welding, high pressure cleaning, equipment testing and repair work and crane operations,” she said.

Ms Johns said the project would see an extra 550 people temporarily added to the site workforce as contractors.

A turnaround is an extended shutdown of a manufacturing plant to allow inspection of key equipment, maintenance, repairs and to implement upgrades that are not possible while the plant is running.

The previous Moranbah turnaround was four years ago in 2017 and the upcoming project has been a year in the planning.

Works to be carried out include:

  • an overhaul of large compressors and other critical rotating equipment to ensure reliability;
  • the inspection, repair and replacement of certain critical high temperature heat exchangers and piping – involving large-scale, highly specialised welding work; and
  • the replacement of catalysts in the ammonia plant.

Ms Johns said the company aimed to employ people from the region as much as possible, and about 30 per cent of the contract turnaround workforce would be from Central Queensland.

“Due to the nature of the specialised skills we need, we will also employ people from Brisbane and broader Queensland,” she said.

“The influx of workers to Moranbah for the turnaround will bring major benefits to the local community.

“The extra people we will have on site will boost the broader Moranbah economy and support a range of business including local caterers and transport companies.”

Located 4.5km north-west of the town of Moranbah, the Dyno Nobel plant employs 170 people and produces ammonium nitrate for explosives products used in the mining sector.

The vast majority of the regular workforce (92 per cent) live in Moranbah.

“We’re committed to supporting the local community and provide housing to our employees who live in Moranbah,” Ms Johns said.

“Incitec Pivot owns and rents almost 180 residences in town. The remainder of our workforce are DIDO or FIFO.”