26/11/2019 - 15:30

Metals X closes Nifty copper mine

26/11/2019 - 15:30

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Four hundred Metals X employees and contractors have lost their jobs after the company halted operations at its Nifty Copper mine today, one day after another Pilbara miner Millennium Minerals entered into voluntary administration.

Metals X closes Nifty copper mine
Metals X says production at the Nifty mine has plateaued in recent weeks.

Four hundred Metals X employees and contractors have lost their jobs after the company halted operations at its Nifty Copper mine today, one day after another Pilbara miner Millennium Minerals entered into voluntary administration.

Metals X said the decision to suspend Nifty operations followed a plateau in production in recent weeks and an operational review, identifying the company would unlikely achieve its planned production target within the required timeframe.

Ore stocks will be processed during the course of the coming week, with the mine, processing facilities and infrastructure then placed on care and maintenance, Metals X said.

The announcement comes six months after the company announced the Nifty Reset Plan to turn operational performance around.

Metals X managing director Damien Marantelli said today the Nifty operation was not where it was expected to be at this stage of the Reset Plan.

“Alongside preserving and growing value for our shareholders, the company’s priority is the welfare of our 320 staff and approximately 110 contractors who have worked tirelessly to improve the culture and operational performance at Nifty,” Mr Marantelli said.

“The company is in discussions with people affected by these changes.”

Mr Marantelli said the company would still require a small workforce to ensure the mine is appropriately maintained, but there would be approximately 290 staff losses, bringing total losses (including contractors) to 400.

“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,” Mr Marantelli added.

The costs of placing the mine into care and maintenance, of around $14-15 million, would be funded from current cash reserves, estimated at $45 million as at the end of November.

Three new directors were recently added to the Metals X board, following the annual general meeting on October 24, to include Brett Lambert, Patrick O'Connor and Anthony Polglase.

Yesterday, gold explorer Millennium Minerals appointed Deloitte financial advisory partners Matthew James Donnelly and Richard John Hughes as joint and several administrators of the company.

Millennium said the administrators are currently undertaking assessment of its trading position and near-term liquidity.

“The administrators will provide all relevant updates directly to the market as soon as possible,” Millennium said in an ASX announcement.

The announcement follows months of capital raisings to fund its Nullagine gold project in Western Australia.

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