Copper mine closure spells job losses for Queensland

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 31 Mar 2014   Posted by admin


ALMOST 300 workers will be made redundant by Glencore Xstrata, as the global diversified miner finishes works at its Mount Margaret copper project.
Closure of the mine in Cloncurry, Queensland will affect 150 employees and 140 contractors, although 30 per cent of the original workforce will remain on site until June, while shut-down operations are
completed.

Ernest Henry Mining, the division of Glencore Xstrata which runs the Mount Margaret operations, said the pending closure marked the end of a process that began in September last year.
“In September 2013 we suspended work on four of the five open pits to further investigate ways to reduce mining costs and improve processing outcomes,” an Ernest Henry Mining representative told
Australian Mining.

“Ultimately we decided to place the operations into care and maintenance once we completed mining activities at [Mount Margaret’s final remaining open pit], E1 North.”
Workers were officially informed of the decision in December.
Xstrata acquired the Mount Margaret operation from Exco Resources in 2011, prior to its merge with Glencore. The strategic $175 million purchase was made to supplement ore feed to Xstrata’s nearby Ernest Henry mine. The Mount Margaret open cut operations were officially opened in July 2012.

The Ernest Henry Mining spokesperson said the company’s focus had shifted to increasing production at Ernest Henry as operations were transferred underground; many Mount Margaret employees would be redeployed within the company’s other north Queensland operations.

“We kept our employees and contractors up-to-date throughout the review period and advised them of the outcome as soon as it was known in December to provide them
with certainty,” the spokesperson said.
“Since that time we have been engaging individually with our people, multiple times, helping them to plan for their future, and discussing their preference for either redeployment or taking a package, and have been able to assist the majority of them with their work preference.

“Our focus remains on increasing production from Ernest Henry. “The development of the [Ernest Henry] underground mine and hoisting shaft is on track for completion in May 2014, and
increases our life of mine by 12 years to 2024.

“We remain focussed on increasing production from our underground mine to 6 million tonnes of ore per annum at full capacity.”