May 30, 2017

Community moves to back mining companies

Community moves to back mining companies

Governments are in the sights of peak representative groups Townsville Enterprise (TEL) and the Mount Isa Townsville Economic Zone (MITEZ) in a bid to help lower the costs of production for mining companies.

It comes as Mount Isa Mines owner Glencore flagged the end of investment in copper.

Glencore had written to both the Prime Minister and Premier detailing concerns, said Townsville Enterprise chief executive officer Trish O’Callaghan.

“They noted that the company could cease their copper operations within a year and would not guarantee future copper mining investment, unless the State and Federal Government’s reached an agreement on overhauling the escalating costs of energy, labour, freight and rail in North Queensland,” Ms O’Callaghan said.

“Glencore shutting down their refinery in Townsville and their smelter operations in Mount Isa could have devastating consequences for North Queensland, resulting in a loss of over 2000 jobs in the region.

“Both the State and Federal Government have an obligation to work with the resources sector, and Glencore in particular as a major employer of north and north-west Queensland, to support these operations and provide pathways and solutions to these escalating issues.”

Townsville Enterprise chief executive officer Trish O’Callaghan.

TEL and MITEZ  had more on their agenda for state and federal governments in support of regional development.

They’ve been advocating to fast-track the establishment of cost effective ‘clean technology’ base-load generation and ensure the region had access to competitively priced natural gas.

“In addition, there is an opportunity for the State Government to further review the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Corridor,” Ms O’Callaghan said.

“This will need a whole-of-government review of operations to explore ways to cost effectively move bulk products between Mount Isa and Townsville.

“The Mount Isa to Townsville rail line not only supports exports out of the North West Minerals Province, but plays a key role in developing the agriculture and outback tourism sectors.”

The Palaszczuk Government’s decision to implement a development policy aiming to support new developments in the Galilee and Surat Basins and the north-west minerals province drew praise from Townsville Enterprise.

The revised model would apply to future resource development proposals in the three regions and replace ad hoc arrangements negotiated in the past, Ms O’Callaghan said.

All greenfield projects approved after the completion of comprehensive environmental impact assessments by State and Federal agencies will abide by the principles outlined in this statement released by the Queensland Government. Click here to download.

While they welcomed this announcement, it was imperative that they included existing operations that were being crippled by energy and associated infrastructure charges, Ms O’Callaghan said.

Glencore confirmed that a letter had been sent to representatives of the Queensland and Federal governments, saying the company’s focus was on investigating options for secure, affordable and reliable energy supply at Mount Isa and Townsville to service its operations.

“We continue to review our processing operations (smelter / refinery) with a range of economic factors considered and in line with major investment decisions,” a Glencore spokeswoman said.