Glencore earmarks A$500m to extend life of Australian copper assets

The undisclosed amount is intended to help Glencore mitigate the negative costs of keeping the assets running, the company said. Both, the copper smelter in Mount Isa and the refinery in Townsville, have high fixed costs and struggle to compete internationally, Glencore noted.

The support package will allow for the bricks lining the Mount Isa smelter in the north west of the state to be replaced late next year, a process that occurs every four years.

The government’s backing also secures the stability of 570 direct smelter and refinery workers, and a further 1,000 indirect jobs for the next two years.

Glencore said it would undertake further studies to examine the economic feasibility of large scale e-recycling or custom smelting into the future.

As part of an A$8 billion ($5.7bn) funding package, the Queensland State government will also spend A$50 million ($36m) on the Mount Isa rail line to boost capacity between the state’s north-west minerals province and Townsville, which is its largest port.

The Mount Isa Mines (MIM) complex is Australia’s second largest copper producer.

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