The decision to close the underground copper operations belonging to operator Mount Isa Mines (MIM) is expected to affect 1,000 jobs.
Affected operations include Enterprise, X41 and Black Rock, in addition to the nearby Lady Loretta Zinc mine.
However, the company plans to continue to operate Mount Isa Mines’ other metals assets, including the copper smelter, the George Fisher Mine, the zinc-lead concentrator and lead smelter in Mount Isa, as well as the copper refinery in Townsville.
The closure decision follows a range of studies and reviews, which focused on further extending the underground copper mines’ operational life.
In a press statement, Glencore said: “The studies revealed that the remaining mineral resources are not economically viable due to low ore grades and areas where, due to geological conditions, safe extraction can’t be achieved using current technology, this all coupled with ageing infrastructure.”
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As a result of Glencore’s decision, the Queensland Government unveiled a package of up to A$50m ($31.7m) to support the mine workers and the Mount Isa community.
The support package includes up to A$30m to fast-track the development of resource projects in the next five years in the North West Minerals Province; and up to A$20m for Glencore to match an economic structural adjustment package for Mount Isa and north-west Queensland.
Glencore Zinc Australia Assets chief operating officer Sam Strohmayr said: “Our focus over the coming months will be to work closely with our people and contractors, our suppliers and the Mount Isa community to provide support as we move towards closure of these assets.
“It is too early to put a figure on how many people may receive redundancies until we work through a process of speaking to each worker and discuss options around retention, redeployment and retraining. Redundancies are the last resort and will be offered only when other options have been exhausted.”