Dou­glas mine dis­posal to con­tinue

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Min­ing com­pany Iluka Re­sources will con­tinue to dis­pose of min­ing by-prod­ucts at its for­mer Dou­glas mine de­spite an­nounc­ing plans to sus­pend op­er­a­tions at its Hamil­ton sep­a­ra­tion plant.

Com­pany of­fi­cials stressed the Hamil­ton sus­pen­sion, from Oc­to­ber this year, was tem­po­rary and would be in place un­til min­ing con­cen­trate from a Mur­ray Basin project at Bal­ranald be­came avail­able from 2019.

In Jan­uary this year the Vic­to­rian Civil and Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal ap­proved the con­tin­u­a­tion of Iluka’s dis­posal of min­eral sands by-prod­ucts from the Hamil­ton plant to the for­mer Dou­glas mine site.

The com­pany, which had been dis­pos­ing of the by-prod­ucts at Dou­glas since 2006, took the is­sue to VCAT in re­sponse to Hor­sham Ru­ral City Coun­cil re­ject­ing a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to con­tinue the ac­tiv­ity.

The de­ci­sion to sus­pend op­er­a­tions at the Hamil­ton plant means the dis­posal ac­tiv­ity at Dou­glas will cease from Oc­to­ber, but po­ten­tially start again af­ter 2019.

Iluka Re­sources cor­po­rate af­fairs se­nior ad­vi­sor Luke Woodgate said the is­sues of by-prod­uct dis­posal and clo­sure of the Hamil­ton plant were not re­lated. “Two de­ci­sions have been made for two com­pletely dif­fer­ent rea­sons,” he said.

“The key mes­sages are that this de­ci­sion will have no im­pact on re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ac­tiv­i­ties at Dou­glas, the move is tem­po­rary and not a clo­sure, with Iluka do­ing ev­ery­thing in its power to help af­fected em­ploy­ees, and Iluka will main­tain long-stand­ing ties with com­mu­ni­ties and pro­vide up­dated in­for­ma­tion.”

Iluka ended min­ing op­er­a­tions in Vic­to­ria in March 2015 and the Hamil­ton plant has since pro­cessed con­cen­trate pre­dom­i­nantly from Vic­to­rian stock­piles, sup­ple­mented with ma­te­rial from the com­pany’s Jacintham­brosia mine in South Aus­tralia. A de­ci­sion to process the Vic­to­rian stock­pile at Hamil­ton only, in­stead of the com­pany’s other plant at Narn­gulu in Western Aus­tralia, with­out sup­ple­ment­ing it with con­cen­trate im­ported from Jacinth-am­brosia, means Vic­to­rian stock­piles will now be ex­hausted by Oc­to­ber.

Ikula chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Steve Wick­ham said the de­ci­sion, which will re­sult in up to 60 job losses at the Hamil­ton plant, re­flected the pend­ing ex­haus­tion of the com­pany’s Mur­ray Basin min­ing oper­a­tion stock­piles.

“Iluka’s in­ten­tion is to recom­mence pro­cess­ing op­er­a­tions at Hamil­ton in line with con­cen­trate be­com­ing avail­able from the Bal­ranald de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

“In light of the tim­ing for that de­vel­op­ment, the de­ci­sion to sus­pend op­er­a­tions at Hamil­ton once the Vic­to­rian stock­pile has been ex­hausted is the most cost-ef­fi­cient con­fig­u­ra­tion of the com­pany’s as­sets.

“This is a com­mer­cial de­ci­sion by Iluka and not the re­sult of any pol­icy set­tings or per­ceived pre­vail­ing eco­nomic con­di­tions in Vic­to­ria.

“The com­pany reg­u­larly eval­u­ates its op­er­a­tional set­tings to en­sure sus­tain­able fi­nan­cial out­comes.”

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