28 Feb NO ONE WINS WITH LOSS OF THALANGA MINE: KATTER
The closure of the Thalanga Mine outside of Charters Towers late last year has been labelled a “mining industry murder” by Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter.
In Queensland Parliament this week, Mr Katter highlighted the impact the closure would have on the local economy.
Thalanga Mine, which employed 130 permanent employees plus contractors, had been operating for 30 years and was both a mine and processing plant for copper, zinc and lead.
In November, Cromarty Resources confirmed the mine had gone into administration, with all employees immediately let go.
Mr Katter said the snap shutdown had sent shockwaves through the Charters Towers community, with employees describing the situation as gut-wrenching.
Since then, FTI Consulting had been appointed as administrator and determined the most “appropriate action was to move operations into Care & Maintenance (C&M)”.
The relevant mining leases were cancelled, and the State Government’s Abandoned Mines office had now resumed responsibility for the remediation of the site, collecting $11 million from the former owners to that aim.
“Despite three decades of successful operation, they had the combined forces of the receivers and the government department working against them to ensure the mine was shut down,” Mr Katter said.
“The next closest processing plant to the Charters Towers region is out in the North-West.
“By closing Thalanga, you’ve pretty much left other leases in the region such as Waterloo and Liontown without a nearby processing plant to deliver to.
“There’s now no longer the potential for any more mined ore to be developed in Charters Towers, giving these local leases no chance.”
Mr Katter was critical of FTI Consulting’s handling of the receivership process, commenting that two possible mine buyers had been dismissed and local workers and contractors had been left unpaid.
“There were two viable buyers showing interest in purchasing the mine who did not even get a chance to make an offer before it was handed over to the Department of Resources as an abandoned mine,” he said.
“Instead of giving it a chance to continue bringing prosperity to the region and keeping those 130 plus people employed, you’ve now potentially got taxpayers’ money being forked out to pay out those workers.
“To many, 130 jobs may not seem all that significant, but in a town like Charters Towers, removing a building block such as that of Thalanga can rattle the whole economy.”
Mr Katter said the closure was significant and showed either great incompetence or undermining of an industry, or just a government department coldly grabbing hold of money at the disadvantage of the industry and Queenslanders.
“Someone needs to be accountable, and the Government is the one with the smoking gun,” he said.