Glencore’s Closure of Mount Isa Copper Operations Leaves Future Uncertain


Summary: Glencore’s announcement to cease copper operations in 2025 has put the future of Mount Isa at stake, leaving over a thousand jobs at risk and raising concerns for the community. Mount Isa Mines, Australia’s second-largest copper producer, has played a vital role in the country’s history, especially during World War II. Glencore cites economic reasons for the closure, leaving Queensland’s famous mining town with a significant void to fill. However, Glencore plans to continue other metal extraction and has pledged to invest in Mount Isa’s long-term future.

Mount Isa, a town in outback Queensland known for its towering stacks and mining pits, faces an uncertain future following Glencore’s announcement to close copper operations in 2025. Mount Isa Mines, operated by Glencore, has been instrumental in Australia’s copper production for over six decades. However, Glencore now deems the remaining ore beyond the country’s deepest underground copper mine to be economically unviable. This decision has triggered concerns about the impact on the community and the loss of over a thousand jobs.

During World War II, Mount Isa Mines played a crucial role in providing copper for Australia’s war efforts. Now, the closure of the copper operations marks the end of an important chapter in Queensland’s history. Glencore’s other mines, such as the Lady Loretta zinc mine and the Mount Isa zinc, lead, and silver mine, will also cease operations in 2025. However, Glencore plans to continue extracting other metals, including zinc and lead, and the copper refinery in Townsville will continue to operate. The company has pledged to invest in Mount Isa’s future and has partnered with the state government to provide economic support.

The closure of Mount Isa copper operations will have a significant impact on the town and its economy. Approximately 1,200 jobs are tied to the copper closures, and the exact number of redundancies is yet to be determined. Bob Katter, a federal MP representing Mount Isa, expresses his concerns about the loss of both direct and indirect jobs. Glencore, however, assures that it will maintain its presence in the area and continue to invest in the long-term future of Mount Isa Mines. Meanwhile, the state government has announced an economic adjustment package, including financial support, to help the town cope with the closure.

While the future of Mount Isa remains uncertain, there is optimism among local youths who believe in the town’s potential beyond mining. They envision a future that focuses on other industries such as sports, healthcare, education, and agriculture.

Tags: Glencore, Mount Isa, copper operations, job loss, mining industry, Queensland