Mount Isa struggles as mining giant Glencore plans to move to Operation FIFO


Fears are growing that an Australian town famous for its mining could eventually be closed.

The development comes after global mining giant Glencore refused to commit to the Mt Isa mine in Queensland’s outback beyond 2027.

Workers at the Swiss-based multinational now fear that the focus will be on an air in and out (FIFO) operation, after it was confirmed this week that the lists will see work delegated for seven days consecutive days in the copper mining facility, followed by seven days off.

Mt Isa City Councilor Kim Coghlan said the population of Mt Isa continues to decline, despite huge mining wages on offer, an abundance of jobs at all levels and no cases of Covid.

She feels the sense of community is virtually nonexistent, pointing out that children’s sport suffers from a lack of available volunteers.

Fears are growing Mt Isa, an Australian town famous for its mining, could possibly be closed

The development comes after global mining giant Glencore this week refused to commit to the Mt Isa mine in the Queensland outback beyond 2027

The development comes after global mining giant Glencore this week refused to commit to the Mt Isa mine in the Queensland outback beyond 2027

Workers are also concerned that a series of FIFO (Fly in, fly out) workers will finally be introduced after the news that Glencore's new rosters will see seven consecutive days of work underground, followed by seven days off.

Workers are also concerned that a series of FIFO (Fly in, fly out) workers will finally be introduced after the news that Glencore’s new rosters will see seven consecutive days of work underground, followed by seven days off.

Some cafes don’t currently trade every Sunday because they can’t attract staff, and even local McDonald’s and Bunnings are struggling to recruit workers.

“We know in the community what’s going to happen. If people have seven days off [in a row], some families will move, “she said The Australian.

“They’ll be leaving for Townsville or heading for the Gulf to go fishing.” We will have to (just) adapt, as we always have.

Matt O’Neill, COO of Glencore, said copper reserves at the nearly 100-year-old mine are currently at a very low level, and the new seven days a week and seven day off lists are essential to improve productivity for 2022 and beyond. .

But the uncertainty surrounding the The future of Mt Isa’s copper mining – despite the fact that the value of copper is expected to increase dramatically over the next several years – has left many people nervous.

The ‘desert paradise’ Mt Isa, 1,800 km northwest of Brisbane, was once a place similar to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia and Broken Hill in New South Wales where many families settle down for themselves. enrich, digging up copper, zinc and lead.

Mount Isa has done everything mining was supposed to do for Australia, but now faces a crisis that will force it to adapt or perhaps disappear (pictured: girls picinicing at Mount Isa )

Mount Isa has done everything mining was supposed to do for Australia, but now faces a crisis that will force it to adapt or perhaps disappear (pictured: girls picinicing at Mount Isa )

Some cafes are currently not trading every Sunday after being unable to attract staff, and even local McDonald's and Bunnings are struggling to recruit workers.

Some cafes are currently not trading every Sunday after being unable to attract staff, and even local McDonald’s and Bunnings are struggling to recruit workers.

Fast forward to 2021 and entry-level mining jobs in Mt Isa are readily available for just under $ 100,000 with three bedroom homes under $ 500,000.

In some places, they are around $ 300,000.

So why are people leaving in droves?

Troy Lusk of Mount Isa Four Wheel Drive Services thinks that’s the million dollar question.

He recently advertised for a mechanic with a companion salary of $ 125,000 – but didn’t have suitable takers, so he hired his own son Trent as an apprentice.

Lusk also believes that these are people who are not prepared to step out of their comfort zone of life.

Countless mining jobs with huge salaries are on offer at Mt Isa in Queensland, but they are not filled

Countless mining jobs with huge salaries are on offer at Mt Isa in Queensland, but they are not filled

Geographical isolation is also a factor - many people are happy to work for less money if they are closer to Australian capitals.

Geographical isolation is also a factor – many people are happy to work for less money if they are closer to Australian capitals.

Mount Isa’s geographic isolation is also a factor, and many workers also know they can earn six-figure wages – or nearly so – near capital cities.

For many families, money speaks for itself – but when it comes to people moving to Mt Isa, it seems other “safer” options have taken precedence.

Glencore COO O’Neill also pointed out that the pandemic is shifting people’s priorities – in a personal and professional sense.

“As a business, we need different ways of working – by plane, by plane, remote, residential or whatever,” he said.

“Flexibility and how organizations and communities adapt to it is important. “You want to be ahead of time, not behind. “

In previous years, many families from across Australia moved to Mt Isa in the Queensland outback for lucrative work opportunities

In previous years, many families from across Australia moved to Mt Isa in the Queensland outback for lucrative work opportunities


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