Help on the way for Collinsville locals as mine closure continues to bite

Consultants are on the ground in Collinsville helping businesses stay afloat as the closure of the town’s coal mine continues to impact the community.

GlencoreXtrsta closed the coal mine in early September, leaving 400 people out of work, 190 of which live in the small Collinsville community.

GlencoreXstrata announced in February it would take control of the Collinsville Coal Mine away from Thiess as it pushes for the project to turn a profit.

However workers face an uncertain future as GlencoreXstrata are refusing to give preference to the existing workforce.  

Daniel Rochford from Whitsundays Marketing and Development said the situation among businesses in the community is ‘dire’.

“Business owners have told us some horror stories in terms of turnover and it diminishing quickly in Collinsville,” Rochford told Australian Mining.

"Some businesses that had been trading at $2,500 a day have gone down to $100."

Rochford said his company had written to Queensland Premier Campbell Newman seeking urgent assistance.

Business consultants will hit the ground in Collinsville tomorrow to provide advice to those affected.

“It's about working with financial institutions to manage lend arrangements and basically to ride this difficult time," Rochford said.

Rochford said it was not yet clear when the mine would reopen.

“We have no advice in terms of time line and we’re working on the basis that these businesses are suffering the consequences here and now so we need to look at ways we can help them here and now,” he said.

“But we are keenly waiting on GlencoreXtstarta’s to advise on their future intentions in Collinsville.”

Earlier this week Collinsville locals produced a video demanding answers from GlencoreXstrata's management around the future of the mine.

The questions in the video come from a cross section of local community members from teachers to senior citizens, who are concerned that the closure of the coal mine will decimate their small town.

Glencore have previously said current workplace agreements are restrictive and want to re-hire workers under differing contracts.

Rochford said while mining communities are no stranger to the ups downs of a project’s operations, Collinsville locals were becoming increasingly worried about the town’s future if the mine remains closed.

“The business community are looking at ways to arrest the slide,” Roche said.

“People’s livelihoods are on the line here and that’s something that we are concerned about.”

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