Workers stood down from the Mt Lyell Mine after a series of fatal accidents will attend a meeting today find out if they may return to work.
Three fatalities in only six weeks, including two workers who feel down a shaft and one who killed in a mudslide, resulted in the shutdown of the Tasmanian copper mine, with around 300 workers stood down on half pay.
Another rock fall last week has prompted mine managers to revise plans to resume production.
Mine owner Copper Mines of Tasmania (CMT) had planned to re-open the mine after the end of June, after receiving approval from Worksafe Tasmania to recommence development at that time, and to resume mining in late July.
Concerns have been raised that the 2pm meeting between workers, management and local council today may be to deliver bad news about the mine’s closure.
"I'm worried under the circumstances the way that people are actually being called together, which means that potentially we are talking about a mine closure," he said.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union representative John Short said union members were worried about their jobs.
"Obviously there's been some tragic events over the last six to nine months in Queenstown and I think most people are hopeful that the mine will survive, even though there's been those tragic events because it would be a tragedy for the mine to close and those jobs to be lost," he said.
CMT general manager Scot Clyde said the mine has developed new methods that will significantly change the Mt Lyell mine’s design and operation, with the introduction of remote mining equipment to keep worker’s from the risk of mud slides or mud-rushes.
"While this is good news for the bulk of our employees, the local community, and suppliers, it will significantly reduce ore production over the next two years, unfortunately this requires fewer employees," he said.
Around 64 positions at the mine will be affected, with a further 24 to go next year, dropping numbers down to approximately 240 at the site.