Glencore says it will extend the life of the Mount Isa copper smelter and Townsville refinery beyond 2022 after reaching agreement with the Queensland government to save over 500 jobs.
In a statement released Wednesday, Glencore said it would invest $500 million in continued operations while the government would give it a one-off incentive as part of the North Queensland Recovery Plan.
The statement did not say how long the new agreement would last but did say the additional funding would mitigate the "negative costs" of maintaining these assets which "face high fixed costs and struggle to compete internationally."
"Glencore acknowledges the goodwill and constructive discussions with the Queensland Government that culminated in this agreement," the company said.
"We recognise these metallurgical assets are an important part of the North Queensland economy and part of a broader supply chain which supports thousands of jobs."
Glencore said the agreement secured ongoing employment for about 570 direct smelter and refinery workers, and a further 1000 indirect jobs.
"Glencore will continue to contribute to the North Queensland economy through the ongoing payment of taxes and royalties," the company said.
"Glencore will also undertake further studies to examine the economic feasibility of large scale e-recycling or custom smelting into the future.
"The Mount Isa copper smelter and Townsville refinery are the only copper metallurgical assets of their kind in Queensland."
The bricks which line the smelter were last updated in 2018 and are due to be replaced in 2022
The announcement came after unions and Mount Isa mayor called for certainty over their future,
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