11 July 2014
Depressed iron ore prices have dealt the Northern Territory mining industry a double blow, as Sherwin Iron goes into voluntary administration and Territory Iron tells Pine Creek residents operations will end by December.
As the fates of workers in communities dependent on a single industry remain uncertain, Chief Minister Adam Giles says it’s essential for them to diversify.
Sherwin Iron announced on the Australian Stock Exchange on Friday that the company and its subsidiaries Sherwin Iron (NT) and South Murchison Mines would be placed into voluntary administration helmed by Ferrier Hodgson after the company was unable to secure an urgent cash release.
Meanwhile, residents of Pine Creek say Territory Iron told them at a meeting last week that by December jobs would be reduced from more than 300 to just 20, citing low prices and a new environmental impact statement assessment as factors.
“We anticipate the mining will still continue but the stockpiling and exporting won’t,” Chief Minister Adam Giles told reporters in Darwin on Friday.
But he noted the company has not yet made a formal statement.
Territory Iron has not responded to calls for comment.
In the absence of any official declaration, the government is still working with the company “to ensure they have an opportunity for expansion into the future”, Mr Giles said.
“What we want to see with Territory Iron is for them to continue their mining operations and stockpiling, with a look to exporting when those iron ore prices recover.”
The company is the biggest employer for the Pine Creek community of about 600 and the government will work with affected workers, he said.
“we will work with them to identify alternative opportunities, identifying… whether they are fly-in fly-out or locals, and how best to connect those people to jobs in the future,” Mr Giles said.
The NT’s iron ore industry is subject to the fluctuations of world prices, he said, highlighting the need for a diversified economy that amplifies the pastoral, horticultural and tourism sectors.
“For any community that has mainly one industry and one project it creates significant trouble,” he said.
He denied the NT was experiencing tough times.
“The Territory has traditionally had a manic approach to its industry and economy in terms of huge upswings and huge downswings,” he said.
These need to be moderated, he said.
Courtesy of Nine News
11 July 2014