Cudeco blames contractor for building delays
Miner denies lock- out
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.
HAPPY FAMILY: Julia Powell and Shane Muller at Backfatters Piggery near Ingham, and ( inset) Romeo the pig who started it all.