BHP Billiton announced today that it would temporary suspend production at TEMCO, the mining giant’s manganese alloy production facility, located in George Town, Tasmania from early to mid-March.
The miner said the plant’s competitiveness has been eroded by the strong Australian dollar, lower global prices and higher input costs along with weak manganese alloy market in Europe.
BHP Billiton Manganese President, Tom Schutte said in a statement: “While measures have been taken to make the operation as cost effective as possible, these have not been sufficient to counter shifts in the market, increased costs of production or operating losses.”
As the mining giant proceeds to undertake a three-month review of the operation, news have been going around that jobs could be under threat.
However, BHP’s Manganese Australia president Bryan Quinn reassures that during the three-month review period, there will be no change in the employment status of TEMCO-based permanent employees.”
“If any decision is made to reduce the number of permanent employees following the review, we will explore all options in order to preserve jobs, including redeployment opportunities within BHP Billiton,” he said.
The plant began operation in 1962.