Century Zinc mine, near Mount Isa, is expected to cease production in mid-2015, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
Australia’s largest open-cut zinc mine is set close in 2015, affecting hundreds of workers.
The Century Zinc mine, near Mount Isa, achieved record mining rates this year, meaning zinc metal reserves will be exhausted one year earlier than anticipated.
The mine has about 900 employees and contractors, including many indigenous drive-in, drive-out workers.
Owner MMG says it will investigate opportunities to convert the remaining minerals to ore reserves, but expects open-pit production to cease in mid-2015.
t Isa Mayor Tony McGrady says it was well known that the mine was nearing the end of production and he doesn’t expect the community to be adversely affected.
“I can’t see it having much of an effect on Mt Isa because most of the workers there are FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) workers,” Cr McGrady told AAP.
But he’s hopeful Century Mine’s indigenous workers will have the opportunity to explore an untapped resource nearby.
The former Labor minister says there is a “huge” uranium deposit in the Gulf that’s just waiting to be mined.
“My timescale was always if the Queensland government was to lift the ban on uranium mining then the huge deposit in the Gulf Country would be able to employ and train some of the indigenous people from the Century Mine,” he told AAP.
Queensland’s government lifted the ban on uranium mining in October last year, saying the state deserves the wealth and jobs it will create.
Mr McGrady says Mt Isa will be in business again if a uranium mine opens up in the region.
Century Mine is about 250km northwest of Mt Isa and has just over three million tonnes of contained zinc metal left.
MMG chief executive officer Andrew Michelmore said the mine has produced more than six million tonnes of zinc to date.
The company is investigating options for the Century processing facility and associated infrastructure.