Article – Red tape removal key for mine life

4 September 2014
Hailey Renault
The North West Star
AUSTRALIA’S latest report on Northern Australia development has toyed with the idea of removing “regulatory hurdles” in the way of expansion at Mount Isa Mines.
The Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia recommended the government extend mines in areas where their closure would impact on “socially significant” community centres.
Rio Tinto’s recently closed bauxite refinery in the Northern Territory was used as a current example but the federal government was also prompted to support the Mount Isa Open Pit  project – an open-pit expansion of the existing underground copper mine.
MIOP would extend Mount Isa Mines’ copper operations by almost 50years, but the project’s feasibility study was put on hold shortly after Xstrata’s merger with Glencore in 2013.
The committee’s report recommended “all reasonable measures should be considered” to extend the mine’s life and maintain the existence of the city.
“There are cost barriers and regulatory hurdles to be overcome but these are not insurmountable,” the report read.
This follows a statement by Queensland Premier Campbell Newman during his launch of the North West Queensland Strategic
Development Study in June when he signalled his willingness to discuss changes to regulatory conditions placed on the mine if the community wanted to start the debate.
Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady said the report’s reference to Mount Isa Mines showed the government was aware the city was trying to find a way to extend the copper mine.
“I can tell you I’m 99.9 per cent sure that the midnight oil is being burned by Mount Isa Mines to see what they can do to prolong the life of this mine and that’s to be welcomed,” he said.
Courtesy of The North West Star