The Queensland Government has announced it will provide an economic boost to secure more than 1,000 resource and manufacturing jobs across North Queensland, just weeks before the state election.
The funding will assist the ongoing operations of Glencore’s Mount Isa copper smelter and the Townsville copper refinery.
Glencore’s North Queensland copper mining and processing operations include the Mount Isa Mines complex, Ernest Henry Mining near Cloncurry, and copper refinery in Townsville.
Operating since 1924, Mount Isa Mines remains one of Australia’s largest industrial complexes, operating two separate mining and processing streams – copper and zinc-lead-silver.
Glencore has for many years signalled that it will shut down the smelter and copper refinery.
In 2016, a planned closure was avoided when the Queensland Government amended environmental-licensing conditions which ensured the smelter and refinery would stay open until at least 2022. Glencore this year announced its operations were again under review.
The support package will allow for the four-yearly re-bricking and maintenance work at the smelter, which is due in September next year.
Glencore said the government’s incentive would help mitigate the ongoing costs of continuing its copper smelter in Mount Isa and refinery in Townsville beyond 2022.
“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,” Glencore said in a statement today.
Treasurer Cameron Dick said the North-West Minerals Province is one of the world’s richest mineral-producing regions, with half a trillion dollars’ worth of the new economy minerals needed for batteries and renewables.
“Demand for those critical minerals will climb over the next decade from the renewable and technology sector,” he said.