LISTEN: Glencore announces closure of Bowen Coke Works
GLENCORE has announced today that it's 83-year-old North Queensland Bowen Coke Works will close over the next few months.
The shutdown will impact 18 people.
In a statement, a Glencore spokesman said the operation historically provided feedstock for the Mount Isa Mines lead smelter, but could no longer operate competitively in the current market.
Glencore's Executive General Manager North Queensland Zinc Operations Denis Hamel said the company had not made the decision lightly and were committed to supporting all of the 18 people who will be impacted by the closure.
"In the coming days we will engage with our people to offer alternative roles across other Glencore operations where possible, including relocation support," he said.
"We will also provide wide-ranging transitionary support to impacted employees, including re-training and up skilling opportunities, career planning, financial management and job search assistance.
"During 2016 and 2017, Glencore will continue to support planned community investment initiatives within Bowen via our Community Assistance Program.
The works would wind down over the next few months as rehabilitation activity was completed.
Bowen Chamber of Commerce President Bruce Hedditch called the decision "appalling" and called on government to make changes to stop the increasing price of doing business in Queensland country areas.
LISTEN: Bowen Chamber of Commerce President Bruce Hedditch explains how the closure will impact Bowen
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen described the announcement as "devastating".
"This is devastating news for Bowen and anyone who is left stranded and out of pocket because they have lost their job should contact my office on 4944 0662," Mr Christensen said.
"The loss of more jobs in Bowen is another blow to the community, and it means that we need to see two things happen.
"Firstly, we need the regional jobs package with tens of millions of dollars in it which I have pushing for to come to fruition so that local businesses can tap into it and purchase job-generating infrastructure.
"Secondly, we need to get the Adani project over the line and that means that further green court challenges are legislated against so that the rot ends once and for all."
State Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to get his "backside" to the region.
"The PM needs to get his backside to our part of the world and stump up with something and the same goes for the Premier and the Treasurer of Queensland who delivers a State Budget in just a matter of days," Mr Costigan said.
"It's a very sad day for Bowen. The whole place is becoming a ghost town and it saddens me enormously. This illustrates once again why we need to get cracking on big job creating projects.
"We're not bleeding in some communities here, we are haemorrhaging."
State Member for Burdekin Dale Last also weighed in on the closure, describing it as a "sledgehammer blow" and calling on workers to be given the same support services as the retrenched Queensland Nickel workers did earlier in the year.
"I also want to see the same level of support services provided here that has been given to retrenched workers elsewhere like Queensland Nickel as the job losses have had a far greater impact per head of population in Bowen and Collinsville," he said.
He also called on the state treasurer to fast-track projects that would help the town in the upcoming state budget.