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Mining giant considers shutting down North Qld operations


A multinational resources company is reviewing the future of its operations in both north and northwest Queensland.

Glencore is reevaluating both its Townsville Copper Refinery and Mount Isa Copper Smelter, after confirming it would implement temporary site and equipment shutdowns at several coal mines.

News Limited revealed the proponent is motivated by soaring electricity and gas prices, which are both affecting the profitability and long-term viability of work sites.

Up to 3440 jobs at risk

If management takes no action, the rising operating expenses could force operations to close as early as 2022. Such a shutdown would impact on up to 3440 employees who work across all copper operations according to Glencore’s latest corporate profile report.

The company also faces an additional $40 million expense for rebricking its Mount Isa Copper Smelter. The Queensland Government has already contributed $15M towards the project.

Glencore is widely expected to reach a final decision sometime before October 6, when Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivers his next budget update. QMEB understands the update will include federal government incentives for gas producers to increase production and lower the end-user cost of electricity and gas.

Coronavirus blamed

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the global market environment, including demand for Australian coal exports,” a Glencore spokesperson said in a public statement.

“In response, Glencore is introducing measures to manage our coal production profile … where temporary shutdowns are necessary, these are planned to coincide with the September school holidays. Workers will be required to take leave during this time.”

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