The Australian Workers' Union and Mount Isa City Council Mayor Danielle Slade are calling on the Queensland government and Glencore to commit to the long-term future of the Mount Isa Mines Copper Smelter.
While the Copper Smelter is an integral part of Glencore's Mount Isa Operation and supports jobs throughout Northern Queensland, the long-term future of the smelter is yet to be guaranteed.
Speaking to the North West Star in 2019, Glencore North Queensland copper boss Matt O'Neill said a decision would be made on the metallurgical side of the business, including the smelter and refinery, would be made by middle to late 2020 and they needed a four-year forward plan to justify any future investment.
AWU Queensland Branch Secretary Steve Baker said that locking in the future of the smelter should be a top priority for Glencore and the state government.
"The Mount Isa Mines Copper Smelter is an essential asset and supports hundreds of jobs in Mount Isa and right across Northern Queensland," Mr Baker said.
"The future of the smelter is too important to play games with. We're calling on Glencore and the Queensland State Government to do the right thing by Queensland workers and commit to the ongoing long-term operation of the smelter."
Mount Isa Mayor Danielle Slade backed the call saying the copper smelter was critical to the Mount Isa and Townsville.regions.
"The Copper Smelter employees around 300 local workers, and Glencore's Copper Refinery in Townsville, employs around 150 workers. Incitec Pivot's Phosphate Hill operations are also dependant on the Copper Smelter remaining open," Cr Slade said.
"I can't stress enough how important it is that Mount Isa Mines Glencore and the state government work together to come up with a solution to extend the life of the smelter."
Cr Slade said Mount Isa Mines was the lifeblood of Mount Isa's economy.
"The company employs a vast majority of its workforce from the city, they support local businesses and local contractors and generously back countless community services and projects," she said.
"There are still many billions of dollars' worth of untapped resources in the North West which could safeguard the Copper Smelter's continued operations for many more years to come."
"With exciting strides being taken with the CopperString high-power transmission line project, it's now more important than ever that the smelter is supported and stays operational to enable these resources to keep powering our city's and Queensland's economies."
Member for Kennedy Bob Katter said CopperString project would provide cheaper energy and bolstered the business case for the continuation of the smelter.
"If copper goes down so does Duchess and the giant fertiliser plant, creating serious problems for the Townsville zinc refinery," Mr Katter said.
With CopperString, Mr Katter, believes that the copper smelter will remain a viable asset for North West Queensand and a worthwhile investment for the company.
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