Jobs lost in mine closure

Fifty miners have lost their jobs after Hellyer zinc mine in Tasmania’s north-west was forced to shut its doors.

Fifty miners have lost their jobs after Hellyer zinc mine in Tasmania’s north-west was forced to shut its doors.

Hellyer mine is the fourth casualty of weakening world zinc prices.

Intec managing director and chief executive Philip Wood said the return on metals was at a record low in Australia.

Zinc and lead prices had collapsed as parts of the world entered recession and China boosted its production, he said.

“If you are into bulk commodities like iron ore or coking coal, or the energy or gas sectors, then things are very buoyant,” Wood said.

“But, if you are in the metals sector then things are far less consistently buoyant, particularly metals like nickel and zinc. They have been very weak.

“The Australian dollar prices for these metals, relative to the mine site operating costs, are lowest in the history of mining in Australia.”

Intec’s is the latest in a series of such announcements by Australian zinc miners.

“Sharply falling metals prices, combined with significantly increased mine site costs, have rendered their zinc production projects uneconomic,” Wood said.

“We have no choice but to suspend operations in order to preserve cash flow.”

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