Xstrata suspends Cosmos mine work, cuts workers

Xstrata has announced it will suspend operations at its Cosmos nickel mine and reduce its workforce.

According to the company it will carry out a care and maintenance schedule at the mine in response to a long period of low nickel prices and the high Australia dollar.

Consequently, we will reduce total employee numbers at ([Xstrata Nickel Australasia] by approximately 150 positions, comprising permanent employees and contractors", the miner said.

Despite halting operations at Cosmos, Xstrata will still go ahead with the feasibility study of the newly uncovered Odysseus, Odysseus North, and Odysseus Massive deposits at Cosmos, with an aim to complete these studies in early 2014.

Xstrata added that suspension of work at Cosmos will not affect operations at its nearby Sinclair Nickel Operations, 100 kilometres south of Cosmos.

Cosmos is made up of the Cosmos and Prospero 

Earlier this month Xstrata announced that it was slashing around 600 jobs across its Australian coal operations.

Speaking to Xstrata spokesperson Francis De Rosa, he told Australian Mining that the company is "currently dealing with a very challenging market and a high Australian dollar, so Xstrata has had to act to ensure the ongoing health of the business.

"This [restructing] is part of an ongoing review."

This restructuring will see the company cut 600 jobs across all of its Australian coal operations, with Xstrata explaining that "although we are not breaking down the reductions by individual site, the restructure is focused on scaling back high cost production at some of our mines".

However, it announced earlier this week that its zinc operations in Queensland are ahead of schedule and already producing first ore.

The miner has slated full scale production at Lady Loretta for mid next year, with total output estimated at around 1.2 million tonnes of ore per annum.

Xstrata stated that once production is full scale from the mine it will increase its annual zinc output by 20%, while also providing an additional 230 jobs.

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