The writing has been on the wall for the closure of Mount Isa copper mines after years of declining ore grades.
Owner of Mount Isa Mines, Glencore, says the remaining copper mineral resources are not viable due to low ore grades and complex geological conditions where safe extraction can't be achieved using current technology.
A spokesperson from Glencore, said: "Over the past five years our engineers, mine planners, geologists, geo- technical engineers and operational personnel have worked on a range of studies to further extend the life of our underground copper mines".
"Our Mount Isa copper operations have seen falling production and declining ore grades. We're at a point where every tonne of ore barely contains enough copper to pay for its extraction."
Glencore said they will continue to assess future mining options, including investigating ways to overcome current safety constraints such as the hot and reactive ground of the 500 Orebody.
Not all Mount Isa Mines operations will close, only the underground copper mines will close in 2025. Glencore said its copper had been operating for more than 60 years, and had a six-year extension beyond the expected life of mine.
The Glencore spokesperson said: "Our Mount Isa underground copper mines, copper concentrator, and supporting services currently employ around 1200 people. The vast majority of these roles live locally.
"We're notifying people almost two years in advance so our workers and their families have time to consider the best options for them."
To help support employees, Glencore is developing a plan that will see the workforce reduced in stages to match the operation's transition and eventual closure.
"It is too early to put a figure on how many people may receive redundancies and these will be a last resort," the spokesperson said.
"We will look to retain key people in critical roles until closure. Where possible, we will prioritise redeployment opportunities for local workers and we will consider offering voluntary redundancy packages."
Glencore agrees that Isa Mines has a long-term future and says it is continuing to invest in its operations, exploring for new deposits and developing potential future projects, including the re-opening of the Black Star Open Cut mine.
They will also continue to operate the George Fisher Mine, with a current life of mine to 2036, the zinc-lead concentrator and lead smelter.
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