THE re-opening of Union Reefs processing plant by Canadian gold producer Kirkland Lake Gold
THE re-opening of Union Reefs processing plant by Canadian gold producer Kirkland Lake Gold

250 Territory jobs lost in shock mine closure

CANADIAN gold producer Kirkland Lake Gold has shocked the Territory's mining sector by sacking 250 workers and announcing the closure of operations at the Cosmo mine and suspending the Union Reefs processing plant operations near Pine Creek.

As revealed exclusively yesterday on NTNews.com.au, staff were told of the closure in a statement to employees.

In November, Kirkland Lake Gold reopened its Union Reefs processing plant near Pine Creek and the company said it was working towards a potential restart of operations this year and with that would come "significant investment in the NT".

At the time Kirkland's vice-president of Australia Operations, Ian Holland, said the company's vision for the Northern Territory was a larger multi-mine operation feeding a central mill.

In its statement to sacked staff it said it had decided to designate its assets in the Northern Territory of Australia as non-core.

"As a result the company has decided to commence closure of operations of the Cosmo mine and suspending operations at the Union Reefs processing plant during March," the company told staff.

"This means we will have to let approximately 250 employees go. All affected employees will receive full entitlements.

"All relevant parties are being informed this week, with some contractors starting to demobilise soon. Redeployment for locally based employees will be explored."

Minerals Council of Australia NT chief executive officer Drew Wagner said securing future jobs for NT's minerals workforce would be the priority for the NT mining industry.

Mr Wagner said a joint taskforce of industry, registered training organisations and Government should be formed immediately to create pathways to employment across other sites and similar industries, including retraining to help Territory families stay here.

He said the NT Government could also assist by accelerating project approvals, opening up the project pipeline and creating new jobs.

"The minerals sector makes a significant contribution to the NT economy with massive potential for growth," he said.



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