By Nausheen Thusoo
(Reuters) -Mining giant Glencore said on Wednesday it was set to close its copper operations at Mount Isa mines in Queensland, Australia by the second half of 2025.
The decision followed studies and reviews that it is not possible to further extend the life of the underground mines, the Swiss miner and trader said.
Mount Isa mines, whose copper operations produced 191,612 tons of copper cathode in 2022, is the second-largest copper producer in Australia, according to Glencore’s website.
“The impact from the mine closure is expected to be localised In terms of the copper market with the production void likely to be backfilled by supply from other copper mines throughout the region,” said Tim Waterer, chief market analyst at KCM Trade.
The Australian Financial Review, which earlier reported the news, said the closure might result in 1,000 jobs cuts.
Sam Strohmayr, chief operating officer of Glencore’s zinc assets in Australia, said it was, however, too early to put a figure on potential redundancies.
The company was flagging the closure ahead of schedule to help workers consider the best options, Strohmayr said.
Mount Isa underground copper mines, copper concentrator and supporting services currently employ around 1,200 people.
“The decision is a blow to the local employment market,” Waterer added.
Glencore will continue to keep other metals assets operational including the copper smelter, George Fisher Mine, zinc-lead concentrator, and lead smelter in Mount Isa, as well as the copper refinery in Townsville.
The miner said Lady Loretta zinc mine, which was a finite orebody with a seven-year mine life, will also close in 2025.
(Reporting by Nausheen Thusoo in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber, Sriraj Kalluvila and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)