Over 100 workers will be out of a job today as Terramin Australia moves to put its Angas Zinc Mine in South Australia into care and maintenance.
General manager of the mine, Joe Ranford said a lack of “economic ore” is the reason behind ceasing operations.
Ranford said the value of the zinc being mined is below the cost to mine it.
"When the mine first started up, zinc was worth about $5000 a tonne, and now it's about $1880," he said.
Ranford explained that while it isn’t viable to mine the site in the current market it could be in the future.
"The reality is that this is one of the cycles of mining," he said.
Ore processing will wind up today, Victor Harbor Times reports.
Located about 60 kilometres from Adelaide, the zinc mine employed 119 people, as well as 25 full time contractors. The total number of redundancies will be 115 people.
"We are sad, because it's an excellent team we have here," Ranford said.
"I'm very impressed with the dedication and professionalism the Angas team has had."
Care and maintenance operations will be managed by three people and will involve a site clean-up, remaining ore processed and any sulphide waste will be transported back underground.
“The plant and equipment will be turned off, cleaned and prepared to minimise degradation while not being used and made safe,” Ranford said.
Terramin announced the site would be shut in July, blaming escalating costs and slumping commodity prices.
The Adelaide based company invested $71 million to open the mine near Strathalbyn in 2008 but five years later, CEO Martin Janes said top quality zinc was scarce.
“We certainly have lost a little bit of time off the mine and I’d say that economically the mine has not been a huge success story,” he said earlier this year.
Terramin said it is considering seeking a change to its lease requirements for the Angas site which if approved could potentially see ore from Woodside’s Bird-in-Hand Gold project processed at Angas.
"If Bird-in-Hand is approved and the lease conditions at Angas varied to allow processing of the ore, the processing plant will employ around 50 people, the mine at Woodside would employ around 40 people and there will be around 30 people who will work across both sites," Ranford said.