Glencore gives QLD copper assets $500m life extension

Resources communities

Glencore Queensland Metals mines zinc and copper in the Mt Isa region. Image: Glencore

Glencore has been awarded a financial lifeline by the Queensland Government to extend the operation of its Mount Isa copper smelter and Townsville refinery beyond 2022.

The mining giant was provided a one-off incentive by the Queensland Government as part of the North Queensland Recovery Plan.

Re-bricking and maintenance work will be provided through the support package at the smelter for the next four years.

Glencore and the Queensland Government did not reveal the amount of funding provided in the incentive.

An additional investment of more than $500 million will be provided by Glencore to continue operations of the copper smelter and refinery.

According to Glencore, the investment would help maintain 570 jobs at the smelter and refinery, on top of 1000 indirect jobs.

“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 stated.

Glencore added it would continue to support the North Queensland economy by providing taxes and royalties, along with future studies to examine large scale e-recycling or custom smelting.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was committed to maintaining Queensland jobs during and after the COVID-19 pandemic with the recovery plan.

“…We will emerge from this downturn and when we do, I am determined that these important jobs right across north Queensland will be here as well,” she said.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said the support package would assist with new economy minerals for batteries and renewables, which includes copper.

“Demand for those critical minerals will climb over the next decade from the renewable and technology sector,” he said.

“Queensland needs to maintain minerals processing capability in the North West to keep supply chains open for future critical mineral developments and the jobs they will create.”

Federal Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt welcomed the Queensland Government’s decision to provide financial support to Glencore, but believes more can be done for the state’s resources sector including the approval of the New Hope’s New Acland mine.

“It’s time the Labor Government showed the same common sense in supporting resources jobs in the rest of Queensland, starting with approval of the New Acland mine on the Darling Downs,” he said.

“Hundreds of jobs and millions of investment dollars are on the line while the Premier continues to hide behind the courts to avoid making a decision on the New Hope project.

“The mining sector makes a significant contribution to the state economy through taxes and royalties and even before the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, it saved Queensland from an even worse financial position under Labor’s mismanagement.”

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.