Mt Lyell restart uncertain despite government support

The decision to reopen Copper Mines of Tasmania’s (CMT) Mt Lyell mine is still on hold despite receiving a $25 million state government assistance package.

Tasmanian premier Will Hodgman made the announcement following a meeting with CMT’s parent company Vedanta and State Growth minister Matthew Groom during a trade mission to India.

The offer is valid until June 2017.

CMT thanked the state government for the funding, with company spokesperson Peter Walker saying the recommencement of the mine remains delayed due to lowered metal prices and unstable market conditions, according to the ABC.

Walker added that Vedanta was “committed” to reopening the mine once there is a more positive price outlook.

“Given support production levels globally, and uncertainties about China, it is difficult to predict when copper prices will return to a level that makes mining operations viable at Mt Lyell,” he said.

Hodgman remained positive over the mine’s reopening.

“We have provided support because we want this mining operation to re-open”, he said, citing the worker deaths, environmental issues, and commodity prices as factors that prevented the mine from restarting at an earlier date.

“We are still hopeful, and following discussions with the owners in India recently, they are too.”

Mt Lyell went into care and maintenance in 2014 following the death of three workers. Two men died after falling down a mine shaft in 2013, and another died a few weeks later after a mud rush.

CMT pleaded guilty for failure to comply with a health and safety duty following the deaths of the two men and did not enter a plea for the count related to the death of the third man.

Since the closure, CMT has spent around $68 million in maintenance.

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