Australia’s Metals X suspends operations at Nifty copper mine

Nifty Copper Mine in Western Australia. Credit: Paul O’Callaghan via Flickr

Australian copper miner Metals X on Tuesday said it will immediately suspend operations at its Nifty Copper Mine in Western Australia following an operational review and its shares fell 13% after the announcement.

The miner said production at Nifty had ‘plateaued’ in recent weeks, and the review identified that it was unlikely to achieve planned production at an acceptable cost and within its previously expected time frame.

The suspension comes nearly two weeks after the company initiated a review and flagged weakness in production at the mine for the December quarter. “The operation is not where it was expected to be at this stage of the Reset Plan and following the operational review, the increased uncertainty in the plan leaves us with no viable alternative,” Managing Director Damien Marantelli said.

Metals X, which acquired Nifty in 2016 through the takeover of Aditya Birla Minerals, said the suspension would lead to about 290 job losses and that it was in discussions with people affected by the changes.

The company said that the decision to shut Nifty would allow it to focus on its Renison Tin Operations in Tasmania, in which it has a 50% stake through the Bluestone Mines Tasmania joint venture.

Shares of Metals X slumped 13% to a record low in early trading, while the broader market was nearly 1% higher.

(By Shriya Ramakrishnan; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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