CONFIDENCE in the future of copper in the North West could be renewed with Aditya Birla's Mount Gordon Mine near Mount Isa under review by the ANZ Bank.
The company put Mount Gordon, located 120 kilometres north of Mount Isa, into care and maintenance in April to protect it from falling commodity prices, which saw copper hit an all-time low in June.
A new surge in exploration by the company since then has uncovered a larger resource on the lease, which could see the mine last for another 16 years.
Aditya Birla chief financial officer Shanti Lal Dugar told The North West Star the company's latest Australian Stock Exchange report published last week reported a 13 per cent increase in their copper resource from 154 million tonnes in March 2013 to 185 million tonnes as of September 30.
``Our head copper has increased 2.05 million tonnes to 2.3 million tonnes roughly so that's a good outcome on the exploration,'' he said.
Mr Lal Dugar declined to comment on when he expected the mine to start production again and said the future of the resource depended entirely on ANZ Bank's strategic review of the site.
Before April this year, Aditya Birla employed about 250 workers and contractors at the Mount Gordon site.
It is understood the mine estimated that if production started again on the expanded resource, the number of jobs could double to more than 500.
A community meeting at the mine site scheduled for next Tuesday is expected to review any environmental concerns held by surrounding landholders if the mine went back into production.
In 2010, Aditya Birla was dragged through the media after it was fined $140,000 for failing to comply with environmental orders to improve waste water management issues on site.
The company released a statement to say none of the charges against them related to causing actual environmental harm and said they sought to resolve all compliance issues.