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Mt Lyell extends operational suspension, workers' pay

Editorial
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Copper Mines of Tasmania (CMT) has extended its current Mt Lyell mine operational suspension for another month.

Last month CMT and its owner Vedanta Resources announced the operation would enter into care and maintenance following a series of fatal accidents at the Mt Lyell site

Around half of its 150 workers were stood down on standby at half pay, with another 40 redeployed at the time, with a decision on the workers' future due in early March.

Now CMT has announced that it will extend the operation's suspension, and the standby pay for another month.

Scot Clyde, CMT's general manager, explained that the company is looking at every avenue to return the mine to full production, in the safest manner possible.

"Over the past month we have had five external consultants with a high level of expertise and capability in cave mining operations working with our own team on possible solutions and changes to operation methods to mitigate the risk of mud rush [which caused the deaths of two workers]," Clyde explained.

"While we remain optimistic, we are not looking at an exercise of minor changes by potentially different technical solutions and changes to our operating methods to allow us to mine ore safely, and unfortunately this takes time.

"Additionally WorkSafe Tasmania is now requiring CMT to undertake a Safety Case for the mine," he said.

"This places additional requirements on CMT to carry out risk assessments across all our operations which, naturally, involves much more work."

The extension will continue to 11 April, when CMT will announce a new decision on the mine's future.

It comes days after CMT's owner, Vedanta Resources, announced the appointment of its new CEO, former Rio Tinto head Tom Albanese.

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