Over 500 jobs lost as Glencore suspends zinc operations in Australia

Glencore will temporarily suspend operations at Lady Loretta and reduce production at George Fisher and McArthur River operations, the company announced on Friday.

ABC News reports that 242 workers will lose their jobs at Lady Loretta Mine while while 224 positions will be lost from George Fisher, and 69 at the McArthur mine.

The closures gave zinc a bump. The Wall Street Journal says zinc rose 6.7% on the London Metal Exchange today.

Before the news, zinc had dwindled to a five year low, dropping to 72 cents USD/lb late last month. The metal had a 52-week high of $1.09 USD/lb.

Chart from InvestmentMine

Glencore plans to reduce annual zinc metal mine production across its operations in Australia, South America and Kazakhstan by approximately 500,000 tonnes or one-third. There was no news on how operations outside of Australia would be impacted.

“Glencore remains positive about the medium and long term outlook for zinc, lead and silver, however we are taking a proactive approach to manage our production in response to current prices,” said the company in a statement.

The company said it has invested over $1 billion across our zinc operations, and it will continue to fund several large scale projects at our operations.

The company regrets the closures.

“These changes, although temporary, will unfortunately affect employees at our operations. This decision has not been taken lightly. In the coming days we will engage with all employees and put in place support services to assist our people who may be affected as a result of these changes.”

Lady Loretta—a zinc (sedimentary exhalative) deposit, with additional occurrences of copper, lead, and silver—is located in Australia about 140km NNW of Mt Isa. The mine is an underground operation, employing long-hole stoping technology.

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