Victorian tyre company to employ sacked Stawell mine workers


Used Tyre Recycling Corporation (UTRC) has offered to employ some of the retrenched workers from the suspended Stawell gold mine in Victoria.

Stawell’s parent company Kirkland Lake Gold halted operations yesterday, with up to 150 positions to be made redundant. The company said underground exploration would continue during the maintenance phase, with a team of 15-20 people remaining to maintain the site.

UTRC offered to employ up to 50 people early next year as it attempts to reduce the massive used tyre stockpile in Stawell.

In June 2015 the company purchased nearly nine million tyres to create a new environmentally friendly, clean-tech recycling facility.

UTRC chief executive Dr Matthew Starr said the company “is the only new business of size attempting to become operational in Stawell that can employ up to 30 per cent of the newly unemployed”.

“UTRC is the best option for the unemployed workers who now face a very unhappy Christmas and New Year, with a bleak outlook for 2017,” he said.

However, a condition for the employment opportunities is that the Victorian Government waive some of the regulatory fees UTRC has sustained in its attempt to develop the recycling facility.

Starr recently penned an open letter to the residents of Stawell about UTRC’s efforts to build a recycling facility, indicating that the company did not receive any government funding or reimbursements to help with construction costs.

“We have spent $2 million case so far in application fees, imposed site works to meet new regulations and red tape, and are still months off being able to submit a council building permit to build the recycling plant,” Starr said in the letter.

The letter also explains other regulatory burdens, including $125,000 to replace trees that need to be removed to make may for the plant, and $15,000 for the relocation of a water pipe.

Northern Grampians Shire Council mayor Cr Tony Driscoll called the mine suspension a “devastating announcement” for the community.

“The effects will be felt far and wide across our shire,” he said.

“In terms of direct and immediate assistance, we’ll be speaking with the state government today to see what support they can offer.”

“We also understand that Kirkland Lakes Gold has enlisted the services of Choice Employment to help staff explore future employment options over the next fortnight.”

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