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3 November 1888 BHP Port Pirie

3 November 1888      BHP Port Pirie

On 3 November 1888 Broken Hill Proprietary Ltd (BHP) invited tenders for the supply of building materials and a builder for the erection of silver refining works at Port Pirie. In 1889 the refinery began operations, alongside the smelters which had been established by the British Broken Hill Blocks, an offspring company of BHP. Later BHP acquired the British operation and concentrated the smelting of ore at Port Pirie, closing down the smelters in Broken Hill. In 1915 the other mining companies in Broken Hill, North Broken Hill and Broken Hill South, decided to co-operate in forming the Broken Hill Associated Smelters and shortly after the Zinc Corporation joined the company and later became the principal shareholder through their association with Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd. After enlarging the plant in 1925 the Port Pirie smelters became the largest of its kind in the world. With the installation of the complicated machinery necessary to extract a variety of metals the plant was able to refine lead, zinc and silver as well as some gold and other by-products. The growth of the town through the influence of this industry led to it being declared a city in 1953, the largest provincial centre outside Adelaide.

V.M. Branson, Port Pirie Sketchbook, Rigby, 1976, pp.16-8.
Nancy Robinson`, Reluctant Harbour, Nadjuri, 1976.

Tags: BHP, Port Pirie, silver smelting