Mineworkers at Monto in Queensland’s south east are preparing for job losses as its biggest mining operations are headed for closures.
More than 35 jobs will go when Belridge Enterprises ceases operations at the Goondicum ilmenite mine next week.
Managing director Mark McCauley said the company will re-examine the mine’s feasibility at the end of the year, the ABC reported.
“We’re running at a significant loss and we could either try and tough it out hoping the market will return – and the indications are that it will – but we wouldn’t have shut it down if we thought that it was going to return within six months,” he said.
“We think towards the end of this year or early next year the market will turn around.
“We produce and sell ilmenite onto the international market and the traded price of that commodity has slipped from $280 per tonne down to about $160 per tonne, so that’s a massive drop and one we have found very difficult to absorb.
“That being the case we’re running at a significant loss.”
Monto business owner Pam Toms said the Queensland North Burnett community will feel the impact of the mine closure.
"Financially the town has struggled with the deregulation of the dairy industry, so it's been a positive business in keeping our men at home with their families," she said.
"Any businessperson you talk to will tell you that the flow-on from the 35 jobs directly in the mines affects the whole town.
"It will definitely impact in the business community of Monto. Time and again Monto has seen industry in the region fold and the families move away from the area or the breadwinner has to go away for employment – all this is a strain on the family and there's less money around."