Glencore and Australia’s Queensland Government have agreed on new environmental conditions that will see the Mount Isa Mines Copper Smelter operate until the end of 2022, extending its initial closure date by six years.
According to Glencore, the Townsville Copper Refinery will also remain open beyond its planned closure date of 2017.
The government announced changes to environmental legislation in June so as to allow copper smelting operations to continue in Mount Isa.
The latest decision follows more than a year of internal work and consultation with government, community stakeholders and environment and health experts to come out with a sustainable future for the asset extension.
Glencore said that the extension will secure 800 direct jobs across the business’ north Queensland supply chain.
Glencore North Queensland copper assets COO Mike Westerman said: “We look forward to ongoing productive discussions with the Queensland government to secure agreeable rates to transport our product to market, post 2016.
“In light of the current market conditions, a continued focus on increasing cost-efficiencies and reducing waste is critical to maintaining the sustainability of our Mount Isa operations.”
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said: “Glencore is a major economic contributor to the north-west region of Queensland and both the copper smelter in Mount Isa and the refinery in Townsville provide direct and indirect jobs, as well as a broader benefit to local businesses and community organisations.”
The Mount Isa copper, lead, zinc and silver mine is operated by Mount Isa Mines (MIM) as part of the Glencore group of companies.
Image: Mount Isa Mines Copper/Zinc-lead operations in Australia. Photo: courtesy of Glencore.