Xstrata copper smelter phase out backed by Mt Isa

The local community has offered support for Xstrata’s decision to close its copper smelting and refinery operations.

The miner held a community meeting in response to its recent announcement that it would be phasing out the operations, which was attended by around 80 local residents, according to the North West Star.

Attendees spoke of the smelting history of the region and “offered their support for the company’s decision” it reported.

This comes on the back of a Queensland Government decision to create a taskforce to help the workers affected by the closure.

Xstrata Copper North Queensland chief operating officer Steve de Kruijff stated that the closure was not an easy decision, but that economic factors had forced its hand.

“Mount Isa Mines would need to smelt 200,000 tonnes of copper a year just to break even. This is not viable in the long term,” de Kruijff said.

“We can make just as much selling concentrate (unrefined copper) as we can selling cathode.”

However, the miner is looking towards extending its extractive operations in Mount Isa, with plans for an open cut copper lead zinc pit.

The new operations could potentially extend the mine’s life to 2050.

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