The future of Rio Tinto’s Gove alumina refinery in the Northern Territory is expected to be decided as early as this week.
The Northern Territory government said it is firming up a contingency plan if the mining major decides to close the plant, the ABC reports.
Chief Minister Adam Giles said Rio Tinto briefed the NT cabinet on Monday, reiterating the government has done all it can to make the operation commercially viable.
But the refinery which processes bauxite from local deposits has been reportedly running at a loss for years.
"We have, for a long period of time, had a plan in place should the negative decision be made," he said.
"We are also identifying what other economic opportunities could advance within Gove should the negative decision be made.
"We have still got our fingers crossed, hoping that Rio decides to keep the plant open."
Earlier this year, Rio Tinto warned its 1500 strong refinery workforce that it was considering scaling back operations at the Gove operation.
According to The Australian Rio has halted negotiations with the NT and commonwealth governments over subsidised gas supplies and is expected to announce it will instead export bauxite.
Closing the refinery is expected to rip $400 million out of the Northern Territory economy as well as leave locals out of work.