A shipment of gold ore is set to arrive at the Port of Olympia early Friday, the third new cargo at the port in the past two years, port officials announced Wednesday.
Other recent cargo handled by the port: dairy cows and organic corn. Regular cargo at the port is controversial fracking sand and raw logs.
When one thinks of gold, perhaps gold bars come to mind. But gold ore looks a bit like a pile of soil, Marine Terminal Director Len Faucher said.
The customer is Northern Ireland’s Dalradian Gold Ltd., which loaded the ship Trinity Borg with 15,000 tons of the stuff. Once the ship is here, the ore will be unloaded into dump trucks. The trucks will then dump the ore along the east side of the marine terminal. Faucher said a front-end loader will load trucks that will haul it to its final destination: a smelter in the Eastern Washington community of Republic.
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How much revenue the shipment will generate for the port wasn’t immediately available, but Faucher said the job, which is expected to take a month, will put 42 longshore workers to work every 24 hours. The work begins Friday and will resume early Monday, he said.
Rachel Jamison, the port’s environmental programs director, said the port will take the necessary steps to keep dust to a minimum. The ore pile will be covered by a tarp and workers will take steps not to handle the product near storm drains, she said.
The port can use a misting application to keep the ore from kicking up dust, Jamison said.
Commissioner Joe Downing welcomes the new cargo, saying it “reaffirms the port’s commitment to diversify cargo.”
He said diversified cargo means the port isn’t so reliant on one cargo and it “smooths out the income stream.” The port learned that with fracking sand, a product used to extract oil. Business was good when the cargo was regularly handled here, but after worldwide oil prices collapsed, the downturn in business affected the port’s bottom line.
“I’m as pleased as can be,” Downing said about the new cargo.
More cattle and organic corn is expected to be handled by the port, Faucher said, and he also plans to attend a conference in Anaheim, California, in May to compete for wind power-related cargo. The port has handled wind power blades before.