After completing the operational review of its Nifty Copper Operations, Metals X has decided to immediately suspend mining activities at the mine in Western Australia following, leaving almost 300 people jobless.
|Metals X Nifty copper operations|
The company announced in a statement that current ore stocks at the Pilbara-based operation will be processed during the course of the coming week. The mine, processing facilities and infrastructure will then be placed on care and maintenance.
This decision will allow Metals X to focus on its 50 per cent joint venture (JV) stake in the longlife Renison Tin Operations in Tasmania, Australia’s largest tin producer.
Although the Nifty Reset Plan, announced in May 2019, has considerably improved the underlying fundamentals at the mine – including increasing resource and reserve confidence, developing new mining areas and upgrading and rebuilding surface and underground infrastructure – production has plateaued in recent weeks.
Additionally, the operational review has identified that the Company is now unlikely to achieve the planned production at an acceptable cost within the previously expected timeframe.
On this basis, the Board, refreshed with three new directors following the AGM on 24 October 2019, did not consider continuing operations at Nifty at this time to be in the best interests of shareholders.
During the period of operational hiatus, Metals X intends to process available drilling data to upgrade the resource base, which will support planning for future mining operations. In addition, the Board is reviewing its strategic options in relation to Nifty and will appoint external advisors.
However, the Company’s immediate focus is to manage the impact of the suspension decision on employees, contractors and stakeholders.
Metals X Managing Director Mr Damien Marantelli said the decision was a very difficult one to make, with the Company now prioritising the welfare of its 320 staff and approximately 110 contractors.
“The people employed and contracting at Nifty and in Perth have worked incredibly hard,” said Mr Marantelli.
“The Company is in discussions with people affected by these changes. We will require a small workforce to ensure the mine and associated infrastructure is appropriately maintained so that it could be quickly returned to production, but there will be approximately 290 staff losses, the cost of which has been fully incorporated into the initial cost of implementing the suspension of operations.
“We are naturally very disappointed for those people whose jobs are affected, and we are providing support, including our best efforts to find alternative employment, as well as ensuring they receive their appropriate entitlements.”