Blow to Monto economy
MONTO has suffered another economic blow.
Belridge last week announced the closure of its ilmenite mine at Goondicum due to a fall in the price of the resource.
The company directly employs 35 people at Goondicum, many of whom reside in and around Monto.
Director Mark McCauley said such a significant fall in price, when commissioning of the mine was still being completed, had left the company with no choice but to temporarily close.
“We did have about a month of full production but we couldn’t continue at such low prices and keep paying the bills,” Mr McCauley said.
“No doubt this is a big blow to the Monto community and we would like to think they don’t totally give up,” he said.
“We are doing everything we can to restart but the market being the market means it is not always possible.
“We have been talking to customers and hopefully something can happen but if production does recommence then it should be in a robust fashion.”
Mr McCauley said all employees had been given appropriate notice and all entitlements had been paid out.
“We anticipate no one will be out of pocket,” he said.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said he was disappointed to hear the news and hoped to see it return to the region.
“The closure of the Belridge mine is devastating for the Monto community,” Mr Seeney said.
“We acknowledge the contribution it has made and hope it can reopen as soon as possible.”
Monto Ratepayers and Residents’ Association president Lex Dow was equally disappointed but said it emphasised the need for the local economy to diversify.
“This is not good for Monto, we hope the dollar falls enough for it to be viable again,” Mr Dow said.
The mine will cease operations this week.