Book by Andrew Male celebrates sinter plant history

BOOK LAUNCH: Brenton Loizeau and Andrew Male launched The Sinter Century at the International Hotel last Thursday night.
BOOK LAUNCH: Brenton Loizeau and Andrew Male launched The Sinter Century at the International Hotel last Thursday night.

Port Pirie's pioneering sinter plant has been celebrated in the form of a new book published by Andrew Male.

The Sinter Century, launched at the International Hotel last Thursday night, looks back at the plant's rich history from its introduction in 1902 to its final year this year.

At the book's unveiling, the audience heard of the groundbreaking role the plant held not only at the Port Pirie facility but for smelters across the world.

The book's author, Andrew Male, told the gathering the sinter plant was the thing during the 20th century that made the Port Pirie smelter different.

Further improvements to the sintering process were developed here from 1947 and introduced by 1950.

"The continuous updraught sintering process was conceived, researched, developed and patented right here in Port Pirie," Mr Male said.

"That sinter plant became the hub and the centre of development and technology, and what made us different, and what gave us an advantage here in Port Pirie that actually kept the smelters open.

"The viability of the smelters was directly related to the development of updraught sintering."

The viability of the smelters was directly related to the development of updraught sintering.

Andrew Male, author, The Sinter Century

Brenton Loizeau, who was the last superintendent of the sinter plant and officially launched the book, reflected on the role the sinter plant has played at the site.

"It was a vital part of the Port Pirie smelter for many decades," he said.

"The sinter plant was so important for many decades, yet so few outside the smelter could see it."

In Male's book, Nyrstar chief executive officer Hilmar Rode described the plant as the pride of the business for many generations.

"From the days of Ropp Roasters, of hundreds of men paid a pittance to break up sinter which dropped from cauldrons, to the development of continuous methods which would change world metallurgy, Port Pirie's sinter plant has been a leader," Rode said in a message published in the book.

The book launch follows a celebration for the plant held at the Memorial Oval function centre in May.

Proceeds of the sale of the book will support local history projects by high school students.