Friday 19th Aug, 2022

Queensland funds smelter and refinery jobs

Copper has slumped in price.
Copper. Photo: Shutterstock

A multi-million economic recovery boost will assist the ongoing operations of the Mount Isa copper smelter and the Townsville copper refinery, securing more than 1000 resource and manufacturing jobs.

It is part of the Queensland Government’s Townsville Regional Recovery Action Plan unveiled to support the region’s economic recovery and to create local jobs.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the funding would also assist manufacturer Incitec Pivot.

“We know COVID has had a huge impact on economic condition globally,” Palaszczuk said.

“Queensland has an economic plan for COVID-19 recovery and our traditional strengths like resources and manufacturing industries are critical to that plan.

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“This investment will underpin 350 jobs at the smelter, 220 jobs at the Townsville Copper Refinery, and another 520 in Incitec Pivot’s operations in North Queensland, which depend on the smelter for feedstock.”

The support package will allow for the four-yearly re-bricking and maintenance work at the smelter, due in September next year.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said the funding lifeline is part of the Queensland Government’s $8 billion plan to protect the health, jobs and businesses of Queenslanders.

“The North-West Minerals Province was one of the world’s richest mineral-producing regions, with half a trillion dollars’ worth of the new economy minerals needed for batteries and renewables,” Dick said.

“Demand for those critical minerals will climb over the next decade from the renewable and technology sector.

“Queensland needs to maintain minerals processing capability in the North West to keep supply chains open for future critical mineral developments and the jobs they will create.”

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the plan also includes more upgrades to Riverway and support for DriveIT.

“It’s great to see there is more than $19 million for further safety and capacity improvements on Riverway Drive,” Harper said.

“And subject to further feasibility work, a $10 million boost will support the regionally-owned motor sport facility DriveIT delivering a range of programs and activities including driving courses, Emergency Services training, product testing and events.”

Glencore said the government’s incentive would help mitigate the ongoing costs of continuing its copper smelter in Mount Isa and refinery in Townsville beyond 2022.

“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 in a statement.”

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