Mount Isa Mayor Danielle Slade has welcomed news the city’s copper smelter will remain open for the next few years, following an agreement between the Queensland Government and Glencore.
“Mount Isa Mines is the backbone of the city’s economy, and the copper smelter is the backbone of Mount Isa Mines,” Cr Slade said.
“I welcome the news of this commitment, which will safeguard thousands of direct and indirect jobs in Mount Isa and secures the ongoing operation of the copper smelter beyond 2022.
“It’s also pleasing to hear that the agreement will enable Glencore to invest up to $500 million into the copper smelter and the copper refinery in Townsville over the coming years, and that the copper smelter will be re-bricked in 2022.”
The copper smelter employed more than 300 local workers and was critical to the economy of the wider North West region and North Queensland, she said.
Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Zone (MITEZ) president David Glasson said support for Glencore’s copper business had been top of the list of MITEZ’s 12 key regional priorities, released in the lead-up to the State election.
“It’s well recognised that Glencore’s copper business has been a significant contributor to the Queensland and Australian economy for over 70 years and to enable it to contribute further governments need to provide support, particularly in the areas identified in our 12 key points,” he said.
MITEZ understands that although the announcement has come at a time prior to the government going into caretaker mode, the support offered today is not contingent on the outcome of the election.
Federal Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt welcomed the State Government support for Glencore, but said Labor had a long way to go to show true commitment to the Queensland resources sector.
“It’s good news for jobs and the local economy in North Queensland but it’s no coincidence the decision comes on the eve of a state election,” Mr Pitt said.
“It’s time the Labor Government showed the same common sense in supporting resources jobs in the rest of Queensland, starting with approval of the New Acland mine on the Darling Downs.”