Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche.

Xstrata extends Cloncurry mine

NEWS that Xstrata Copper will spend almost $600 million to extend the life of its Ernest Henry Mine operations in the Queensland’s north-west is a very welcome Christmas present for the people of the region and the State.

The chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council Michael Roche said the decision to transform the open-pit operations near Cloncurry to a major underground mine was a significant vote of confidence in the future of the resources sector in the region and an indication of the potential of the North West Minerals Province.

“It’s staggering that the new resource identified increases the previously published underground reserves by 600%,” said Mr Roche.

“It’s also extremely exciting that the expansion will mean that Xstrata Copper will become Queensland’s first iron-ore producer.”

Through the construction of a magnetite processing plant, the mine will produce about 1.2 million tonnes of magnetite a year for export to Asia.

“I’m also very pleased to see that the expansion will create 330 construction jobs and 400 full-time jobs – very welcome news following the pessimism prevailing 12 months ago,” said Mr Roche.

“The diversity of the resources sector in Queensland is a key to its resilience and why it continues to contribute so much to the State’s economy.

“They accounted directly and indirectly for one in every eight jobs in Queensland and returned royalties to the State Government of almost $3.4 billion.”



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