Glencore has announced that its Mount Isa Mines Copper Smelter and Townsville Copper Refinery will stay open until 2022 despite the planned closure for 2016 and 2017 respectively.
According to the news release, the miner has reached an agreement with the Queensland Government over new environmental licensing conditions after months of work and consultations.
“It makes us very proud to have secured a path forward for the copper smelter that balances our environmental obligations with sustaining jobs for our people and the economic realities of operating a metallurgical processing asset in Australia in today’s market,” said Mike Westerman, Chief Operating Officer for Glencore’s north Queensland Copper Assets.
“We look forward to on-going 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.”
The new agreement literally means that 800 jobs across Glencore’s north Queensland supply chain will be saved from the chopping block.
“The best thing we can do for our community is to operate a safe, environmentally responsible and efficient business that meets community expectations and can compete in the global marketplace. This was not a simple decision to make, and we were committed to approaching it in the right way to ensure a responsible, sustainable outcome that our business and our community could stand behind,“ added Mr Westerman.