Resources employees affected by an operational shutdown will be eligible for government assistance.
The Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning recently promised to provide up to $50 million for mine workers impacted by Glencore’s closure of Mount Isa Mines and Lady Loretta mine in the second half of 2025.
The support package includes:
- up to $30M to accelerate resource project development across the North West Minerals Province within five years
- up to $20M plus dollar-for-dollar matched funding from Glencore ($20M) for a new economic structural adjustment package
- existing employee support through Glencore.
A further $245M will be allocated towards:
- reducing rent
- establishing critical mineral zones
- $100M Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund
- $75M Queensland Resources Common User Facility.
“Our number-one priority is to protect jobs and retain skilled workers in this important region. I understand many workers and their families will find Glencore’s decision a difficult one to accept but we will always do what we can to support workers and their families to find new good, secure jobs,” State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a public statement.
The remarks came after the employer found mineral production was no longer sustainable at the 60-year operation.
“Glencore has conducted a range of studies and reviews seeking to further extend the life of the underground copper mines but unfortunately it has not been possible, and they have reached the end of mine life,” the company said.
“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 cannot be achieved using current technology, this all coupled with ageing infrastructure.”
Australia zinc chief operating officer Sam Strohmayr confirmed about 1200 impacted employees will either be retrained, redeployed or retrenched.
“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,” he said.
The Australian Workers Union (AWU) described the occasion as an “incredibly sad day”.
“Glencore have been using foreign labour and fly-in fly-out labour hire on their other operations in the region. It is our expectation that local workers who are affected by these closures are given priority access to these roles,” AWU Queensland secretary Stacey Schinnerl said.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) hopes the mining giant’s exit will motivate authorities to approve new coal projects.
“It is time the Queensland Government started encouraging resources investment, which will support exploration and investment in new projects, rather than discouraging it with the world’s highest royalty taxes and endless approval processes,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.
Monash University suggested mine closures could create opportunities to produce critical minerals.
“Rehabilitation of the mine provides a golden opportunity for the extraction of energy-transition critical minerals, energy generation, storage batteries and space in the landscape, which is highly contested in our rapidly urbanising and climate-constrained world,” civil engineering associate professor Mohan Yellishetti said.