Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman has announced the government’s continued support for the restart of Australia’s oldest mine.
The Premier, who made the announcement during a trade mission to India, said the Tasmanian Government is providing $25 million to Vendata Resources to restart the Mt Lyell copper mine by next year.
“It is a sizable operation and at its peak could employ well over 300 Tasmanians,” Mr Hodgson told NDTV.
“So it is an important opportunity for us to demonstrate our support to Vedanta, the Copper Mines of Tasmania.”
The mine has been under care and maintenance since early 2014, after the deaths of three workers in a short period of time.
Two men had been killed in a mine shaft accident, while the other died after a mudslide just weeks later.
“A $25 million assistance package to Copper Mines of Tasmania (CMT) will ensure the mine remains in care and maintenance and give it every opportunity to reopen when the world copper price improves,” the Minister for Resources Paul Harriss said in a statement when the package was announced in November last year.
“Only to be paid if the mine does reopen, the assistance would be in the form of a grant to reimburse CMT for payroll tax and royalties and would be paid over a five-year period from the recommencement of operations.
“CMT and its parent company, Vedanta, have said this package will give Mt Lyell the best possible chance of reopening.”
A reopened Mt Lyell is expected to employ about 135 full-time equivalent workers, with more than 50 contractors also engaged in the operation.
Last month, CMT pleaded guilty to a workplace charge in relation to the deaths of the two workers killed at the mine in December 2013. They are expected to enter a plea next month in regards to the death of a third worker weeks later in January 2014.