Glencore considers future of Mount Isa copper assets

Townsville copper refinery. Image: Glencore

Glencore is reviewing the future of its Mount Isa copper smelter and Townsville refinery in Queensland.

A Glencore spokesperson said that the viability of the copper processing assets were being challenged by significant global competition and high fixed costs in Australia.

The company processes and smelts ore from Mount Isa on site before transporting it via rail to the copper refinery in Townsville.

It also transports copper ore from Ernest Henry to Mount Isa for smelting into copper anode.

Glencore is capable of producing 300,000 tonnes of 99.995 per cent pure copper cathode a year at the Townsville refinery, and 99.7 per cent pure copper plates at the Mount Isa smelter.

The spokesperson stated that the bricks lining the smelter were due for replacement in 2022, urging a decision to be made soon.

“We have been transparent about the challenges and discussions are ongoing with both the Queensland and federal governments,” he said.

“We expect to communicate a final decision on the metallurgical assets in the next four weeks.”

The assets are Glencore’s only copper smelter and refinery in Queensland.

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