250 jobs misplaced as Canadian miner shuts NT gold initiatives

a mining truck entering a tunnel.

Canadian mining firm Kirkland Lake Gold has made a shock announcement to close two of its gold initiatives within the Northern Territory, with round 250 staff advised they’ll lose their jobs.

Kirkland Lake Gold KP

Key Factors:

  • In a letter to staff yesterday, Kirkland Lake mentioned NT operations could be designated as “non-core”
  • The letter additionally mentioned 250 workers could be let go
  • The NT Authorities rejected claims that delays to mining approvals led to the corporate’s determination

Check mining and processing on the Cosmo mine and the Union Reefs processing plant, each close to Pine Creek south of Darwin, will stop on the finish of March.

Kirkland Lake had been working to restart mining at Cosmo since manufacturing was halted in Might 2017, and was within the last phases of working via approvals for an underground mine at Union Reefs.

It had plans to provide round 100,000 ounces of gold from the Pine Creek area in 2020, and was anticipated by many to have a vivid future because the Australian gold value soared.

However in a letter to staff yesterday, obtained by ABC Rural, Kirkland Lake mentioned given the standard of the corporate’s different gold initiatives in Victoria and Canada, NT operations could be designated as “non-core”.

“This implies we must let roughly 250 workers go,” the letter mentioned.

The letter outlined plans for the corporate to proceed some exploration within the Pine Creek area, progress the Environmental Affect Assertion (EIS) for a mine at Union Reefs and “aggressively decrease our environmental liabilities.”

Has a delay in mining approvals sunk Kirkland?

A supply concerned with the initiatives has advised ABC Rural that administration at Kirkland Lake was “fed up” with the NT Authorities’s delay in processing mining approvals, which had impacted on its determination to stop operations.

The supply mentioned staff and contractors on the initiatives had been “devastated” and “shell-shocked” by the corporate’s transfer.

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In November 2019, the NT Authorities issued a press launch declaring Kirkland Lake Gold had “given the nod of confidence to the Territory financial system” when the corporate reopened the processing mill at Union Reefs.

Nevertheless, a small colony of the uncommon ghost bat proved to be a giant hurdle in Kirkland Lake’s EIS for beginning mining at Union Reefs.

In January, Kirkland Lake’s venture supervisor Mark Edwards mentioned the ghost bat was the “principal difficulty” being thought-about within the EIS.

“We perceive what the problems are, and we’re working with each analysis and the federal government to attempt to have the least quantity of influence,” Mr Edwards mentioned in January.

Minister for Main Trade and Sources Paul Kirby rejected claims {that a} delay within the mining approvals led to Kirkland Lake’s determination.

“I can completely assure that timing of any approvals have not performed an element on this,” Mr Kirby mentioned.

“It’s absolute business choices by a multi-national [company] on the grading of the ore and the returns that they are going to get from that.

“Sadly, within the international scenario, if that does not fairly stack up, they’ve made a very robust determination and that’s going to have an effect on quite a lot of Territory households.

The Division of Main Trade and Sources mentioned it was working to help any Kirkland Lake workers who had misplaced their job.

“The NT Authorities and the Minerals Council of Australia’s NT department are organising a joint process drive to create pathways to employment throughout different websites and comparable industries to assist hold households of affected workers within the Territory,” an announcement from the division mentioned.

A workforce of round 30 to 40 workers might be retained by Kirkland Lake to “advance current rehabilitation and exploration work plans.”

Mine closure a blow for Pine Creek

The city of Pine Creek has ridden the ups and downs of the High Finish’s mining business for effectively over a century.

Proprietor of North Australian Laboratories in Pine Creek, Ray Woolridge, mentioned it was unclear what precisely the influence could be, however Kirkland Lake was his enterprise’ largest consumer.

“If we do not have ongoing work, I can not assist a workforce of 35 folks, so we will definitely have job losses,” he mentioned.

“We’re a residential workforce, we’re not fly-in fly-out, so simply our operation goes to have a fairly large influence in town itself.”

Mr Woolridge believed Kirkland Lake’s determination to close down its initiatives was a results of frustration with approvals.

“One of many tales floating round in the mean time is that [Kirkland Lake] hadn’t been in a position to safe their mining permits off the NT Authorities,” he mentioned.

“To take a position [such a large] sum of money and to have an unsure mining future, I perceive they weren’t ready to attend.”

Shannon Mentiplay from the Lazy Lizard Tavern mentioned Kirkland Lake’s transfer was a whole shock to the city of Pine Creek.

“We’re all in quite a lot of shock, no-one anticipated this,” she mentioned.

“The locals are very devastated, particularly as a result of [the company] does make use of lots of people.”

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