Northern territory resources company Sherwin Iron has ceased operations while it waits for government approvals to develop a mine to full scale.
Sherwin’s Roper River Iron Ore Project, about 120km east of Mataranka and south of Kakadu National Park, has all but closed down with only 10 permanent staff remaining at the mine.
60 workers were employed to mine and transport a 400,000 tonne bulk ore sample bound for China.
Sherwin managing director Rodney Illingworth said those workers put off were casually employed to deal with transport of the ore.
“The permanent ones, we've just asked at the moment, because we're uncertain if it's one month or two months [until mining resumes], to take leave without pay,” Illingworth told ABC radio.
“Then we'll assess where we are with the assessment process at the end of July.”
Illingworth said that he was confident that workers would return to the project, but he could understand that if the approvals process took an extended period of time then workers would need to find other jobs.
“I think, obviously if it was an extended period of time, I couldn't ask or expect them to come back,” he said.
“They would obviously have to go and seek other jobs.
“But I'm fortunate enough to have an extremely good, dedicated and loyal team, so that's why we're just working through it gradually.
“It's been over 12 months on this boat sample, so I guess some want to take extra leave, and others if they can't afford it they come to us and say they've been offered a job, things like that.”
Sherwin Iron is presently trading at 4 cents per share, nearly 70 per cent of which is owned by Citizen International Investment.