Xstrata copper smelter workers get taskforce

The Queensland Government will set up a taskforce to help workers affected by Xstrata shutting down its copper smelting and refinery works.

Xstrata recently announced that it is planning to phase out copper smelting and refining operations in Townsville and Mount Isa by the end of 2016.

The taskforce will be established to help workers during the transition period, the NorthWest Star reports.

Mount Isa MP Betty Kerinan stated that to communities like Mount Isa, mining is key to life in the community and a major source of income for local families and businesses.

"That’s why I want to make sure our economy and the Mount Isa community is protected as Xstrata winds down these operations. That’s what this taskforce is about," she said.

Xstrata have said that their focus is on ensuring employees remained with the business, North Queensland chief operating officer Steve de Kruijff saying “we want to make it absolutely clear that we value our people.

"We will be working closely with our workforce to deliver retraining and retention packages to support our operations well into the future."

He went on to say that the miner hopes to keep the 400 staff that will be affected by the gradual phase out.

The government task force will work directly with Xstrata, QLD mining minister Stirling Hinchliffe stating that “senior employment officers from the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation will work closely with representatives from Xstrata, the AWU and the local Mount Isa and Townsville communities to ensure workers in Mount Isa and Townsville are getting a fair deal.”

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