Cudeco blames con­trac­tor for build­ing de­lays

Miner de­nies lock- out

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT busi­ness editor tony. raggatt@ news. com. au

EMERG­ING miner Cudeco Ltd has re­jected sug­ges­tions it has locked out work­ers from its $ 200 mil­lion min­ing de­vel­op­ment, Rock­lands, near Clon­curry as it scram­bles for more cash to com­plete con­struc­tion of the pro­ject.

Min­ing was ceased at the site on Wed­nes­day, how­ever Cudeco chair­man Wayne McCrae told the Bul­letin last night the com­pany had moved to lay off 18 work­ers and had cut one of two seven- day shifts from the mine be­cause they were un­able to stock­pile ore.

Mr McCrae blamed build­ing con­trac­tors for the is­sue be­cause they were run­ning six months be­hind the con­struc­tion sched­ule for the plant’s pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity.

Min­ers have been work­ing in al­ter­nat­ing shifts of seven days on and seven days off.

“No­body has been locked ROMEO, the hog who es­caped and fa­thered 60 off­spring in a whirl­wind day of porcine ro­mance, is the driv­ing force be­hind one of the suc­cess sto­ries of Queens­land pri­mary in­dus­try.

Ju­lia Pow­ell and Shane Muller are rid­ing the in­ter­na­tional wave of freerange graz­ing with their pig­gery near Ing­ham and they owe it all to Romeo.

Both be­gan their work­ing lives far re­moved from sows, boars, piglets and the mud their charges are so fond of.

Ju­lia worked in fash­ion de­sign and hos­pi­tal­ity in Lon­don, Shane as a chef, and the two headed north not to get into agri­cul­ture but to es­cape the city. out,” Mr McCrae said. “We have been min­ing for 14 months … we have been min­ing 30,000 tonnes a day but we have got nowhere to put any more ma­te­rial so we have taken one shift off.”

While not ex­pected to be­gin pro­duc­tion un­til later this year, the mine has started ini­tial ship­ments of cop­per ore through the Port of Townsville to cus­tomers in China.

The com­pany sought and gained a vol­un­tar­ily sus­pen-

They set­tled on 10ha near Ing­ham with ducks, geese, a veg­etable patch and a few pigs while Shane went fish­ing off Hinch­in­brook Is­land.

But Romeo had other plans. He es­caped from his pen, se­duced pretty sion from trade on the Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties Ex­change on July 2 af­ter ma­jor share­hold­ers voted not to ap­prove a $ 50 mil­lion cap­i­tal rais­ing pro­posed by the com­pany.

This week the com­pany gained a fur­ther sus­pen­sion from trade to July 31.

In a state­ment, the com­pany said it was work­ing with its ma­jor share­hold­ers and bank to fi­nalise its fi­nanc­ing re­quired to com­plete con­struc­tion of its process plant. much ev­ery sow on the farm, then spent the night get­ting drunk on sugar cane stumps, grunt­ing hap­pily in his own per­sonal patch of mud.

Less than four months later Ju­lia and Shane had 60 new piglets.

“So we fig­ured ‘ now we have a pig­gery’,’’ said Ju­lia, a one- time veg­e­tar­ian who reg­is­tered the pig­gery and be­gan selling ba­con and ham at mar­kets in Townsville.

Word quickly spread about their brand “Back­fat­ters” and its open range, chem­i­cal free, an­i­mal wel­fare phi­los­o­phy in a state that doesn’t for­mally recog­nise free range pig­geries.

“The ne­go­ti­a­tions have been pos­i­tive but slower than an­tic­i­pated,” the com­pany said.

“Due to the ob­vi­ous con­tin­u­ance of fi­nanc­ing re­quired and the un­cer­tainty fac­ing the com­pany, the di­rec­tors be­lieve it is im­por­tant that the sus­pen­sion of trad­ing con­tinue to al­low for a de­fin­i­tive and in­for­ma­tive an­nounce­ment on its fi­nanc­ing to be made to the mar­ket once it is in place.”

Cudeco said it ex­pected to be able to do this by July 31. Back­fat­ters, the only pig­gery in the state us­ing pure­bred Berk­shire pigs, has been a fi­nal­ist three years run­ning in the ABC’s De­li­cious Food Awards.

“We make our an­i­mals our pri­or­ity, we take care of them from their birth to their death which we en­sure is pain free and with­out trauma,’’ says Shane.

Now in part­ner­ship with Chris­tine Della Vale, a Whit­sun­day gra­zier who runs Beefalo, Back­fat­ters and Beefalo prod­ucts ap­pear in shops statewide.

Prod­ucts of both Back­fat­ters and Beefalo will be on show at Re­gional Flavours in Bris­bane this week­end.

Mr McCrae said con­struc­tion work was con­tin­u­ing through prin­ci­pal con­trac­tor Si­nos­teel and elec­tri­cal con­trac­tor Walz Elec­tri­cal.

He said about 300 peo­ple were work­ing on site and that the 18 peo­ple made re­dun­dant this week would be of­fered po­si­tions when full min­ing could be re­sumed.

“We have a Chi­nese bank be­hind us,” Mr McCrae said. “( The fi­nanc­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions) are all about get­ting the best deal.”

Pro­duc­tion was ex­pected to be­gin in Septem­ber or Oc­to­ber.

Pic­tures: MARK CALLEJA

HAPPY FAM­ILY: Ju­lia Pow­ell and Shane Muller at Back­fat­ters Pig­gery near Ing­ham, and ( inset) Romeo the pig who started it all.

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