Mount Isa Mines will undertake a major $30 million rebrick of the Mount Isa Copper Smelter in March with additional contractors brought in to complete the work.
A Mount Isa Mines spokesperson said on Tuesday (January 16) that during the rebrick shutdown, four major vessels, including the primary Isasmelt furnace will be completely stripped and relined with new, custom refractory bricks.
“Major improvements to other critical pieces of smelter infrastructure will also be completed, including an upgrade of the smelter’s off-gas system,” the spokesperson said.
“The rebrick will commence in mid-March and will take about a month to complete.
During this time, Mount Isa Mines will bring in around 400 additional contractors and specialist workers to support its regular workforceMount Isa Mines
“During this time, Mount Isa Mines will bring in around 400 additional contractors and specialist workers to support its regular workforce.”
The news comes just over a year after the Queensland state government offered to go halves in the rebricking, an offer that was turned down by the Mine.
Then Acting Premier Curtis Pitt came to Mount Isa at the time and said the offer was conditional on Mount Isa Mines’ commitment to maintain third party access to the smelter.
However speaking to the North West after a community consultation session in 2017, Glencore’s Copper Assets Australia COO Mike Westerman said they had turned down the government’s offer.
“We don’t believe projects should be individually subsidised, we believe investment decisions should be made based on the prevailing economic conditions,” he said at the time.
Mount Isa Mines said the copper smelter in Mount Isa was one of just a handful of advanced minerals processing facilities that were left in Australia.
The smelter produces copper anode from material sourced from Glencore’s Mount Isa and Ernest Henry Mining operations, as well as concentrate from other operators in the region through third party processing agreements.