Northern Minerals suspends Browns Range operations

Northern Minerals has temporarily halted operations at the Browns Range mine in East Kimberly, Western Australia as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s decision was made on the basis of government restrictions and the health and safety of its workers.

Restrictions enforced by the federal and Western Australian governments have taken a toll on site operations.

The company stated that the global, national and state outlooks suggested it would become difficult to move people to and from the Browns Range site as a result of travel bans.

Northern Minerals attributed the suspension towards maintaining the health and safety of its workers and the community.

The company also aims to protect the Aboriginal communities in the Kimberly region from coronavirus, which has played a part in the decision to suspend operations.

“We understand this decision will have a significant impact on all our employees,” Northern Minerals managing director and chief executive George Bauk said.

“These are difficult, uncertain and unprecedented times. These decisions are not made lightly and are taken to ensure the health and safety of our employees and the community within which we operate.

“While this decision will obviously have a significant impact in the near term, we are hopeful that our resilience and adaptability will ensure our longevity and that Northern Minerals will be ready to rebound when the global situation improves.”

Australia’s credit agency Export Finance Australia (EFA) has advised Northern Minerals it will continue to look into the potential provision of finance needed for the Browns Range processing plant.

“While site-based activities have been suspended, there are several value-enhancing projects that will continue,” Bauk said.

The company has continued to develop the plant/downstream capabilities and seek offtake and investor opportunities with the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office.

Northern Minerals plans to work with the Australian Taxation Office to finalise the refundable research and development tax offset for 2016/17 and 2017/18, along with discussing this year’s refundable tax offset.

The company has also agreed with the Australian Foreign Investment Review to extend the statutory deadline for the Treasurer’s final decision relating to its proposed $60 million placement to Browns Range until April 17.

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