A multinational mining company will postpone shutting down its operations in both north and northwest Queensland after receiving government assistance.
Glencore has changed its strategy to review the future of both its Townsville Copper Refinery and Mount Isa Copper Smelter, and will instead invest more than $500 million to extend operations beyond the year 2022.
570 jobs saved
The decision is promised to provide continuing employment for about 570 direct employees plus a further 7000 indirect roles. It will also allow for scheduled re-bricking and maintenance work to proceed at the smelter and end in September 2021.
The announcement came after the State Government granted an undisclosed sum to the proponent through the North Queensland Recovery Plan. Although Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk refused to confirm exactly how much was granted, QMEB understands the amount is actually between $30M and $40M.
“This incentive will partially mitigate the negative costs of continuing these assets which face high fixed costs and struggle to compete internationally,” a Glencore spokesperson said in a public statement.
“We recognise these metallurgical assets are an important part of the North Queensland economy and part of a broader supply chain, which supports thousands of jobs … the Mount Isa Copper Smelter and Townsville refinery are the only copper metallurgical assets of their kind in Queensland.”
The company is so upbeat it is even advertising for the following new job vacancies:
- graduate mining engineer
- emergency advisor
- trainer assessor
- training bookings officer
- superintendent – concentrator
- refrigeration mechanic
- air quality controller
- mechanical fitter
- senior – structural and services
- superintendent – metallurgy
- commercial analyst
- graduate mine surveyor
- superintendent – risk and audit
- production dispatch operator
- mine planning engineer
- senior long term planning engineer
- senior ventilation engineer
- mid term planning engineer
- project scheduling engineer
- mine geologist
- mining engineer – planning.
Successful applicants will be offered either fly-in fly-out roster of nine days on and five days off, seven days on and seven days off, or a residential roster of four days on and three days off. They are also promised competitive remuneration, company paid super, and discounted medical, flights, shopping and insurance.
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The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) described the funding as a “huge boost to the regional economies in the north and north-west of Queensland”.
“A further 1000 indirect jobs [will be] supported,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said in a public statement.
“This investment will underpin 350 jobs at the smelter, 220 jobs at the Townsville Copper Refinery and another 520 in Incitec Pivot’s operations in North Queensland, which depend on the smelter for feedstock.”