Tasmanian mine reopening delayed



The reopening of Mount Lyell copper mine on Tasmania’s west coast is facing significant delays because of low metal prices.

Copper Mines of Tasmania (CMT) says low global copper prices has forced it to review its options and costs.

The mine has been on care and maintenance sine July after the deaths of three workers in two incidents.

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A worker died in an underground mud rush in January 2014.

Six weeks earlier, two men died after falling down a mine shaft.

Site manager Jared DeRoss said work was progressing to resume production.

But Mr DeRoss said an evaluation of the mine’s feasibility had been delayed by low prices.

He said $11 million was being invested in exploration and environmental projects and a safer mining method had been chosen for what would essentially be a new operation.

About 60 local employees and contractors are helping to prepare and maintain the mine, and engineers from New South Wales are doing specialised steel work to secure its shaft cage.

West Coast Mayor Phil Vickers said it was unclear if the new mine would require fewer workers than the 200 who were employed before it entered care and maintenance.

“That’s really a matter for them,” he said.

“To be successful and to continue to be able to make a profit with low commodity prices they need to do whatever they need to do to get to that point in time.”

The mine’s closure was one of several setbacks for the west coast which has relied on mining for decades.

A State Government working group set up to deal with the fallout proposed $2.5 million in funding last October.

In its final report last month, it recommended new economic opportunities to stimulate the economy.

The company said it was too difficult to provide a timeframe for reopening.

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