PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Mining giant BHP Billiton on Thursday announced that production at its Tasmania Electro Metallurgical Company (Temco) manganese alloy facility would be suspended until mid-March.
Manganese president Tom Schutte said on Thursday Temco’s international competitiveness has deteriorated with the surge in strength of the Australian dollar and the steady increase in input costs.
He noted that at the same time, manganese alloy markets in Europe and North America had been weak, while global prices remained low.
“While measures have been taken to make the operation as cost effective as possible, these have not been sufficient to counter shifts in the market, increased costs of production, or operating losses,” he said.
BHP Billiton Manganese Australia president Bryan Quinn, said the company would review the long-term future of the operation over the three-month period, which would include extensive stakeholder consultation and a review of all options.
“Importantly, during this time there will be no change in the employment status of Temco-based permanent employees. However, contracting partners will be reduced to those critical to essential activities.
“If any decision is made to reduce the number of permanent employees following the review, we will explore all options in order to preserve jobs, including redeployment opportunities within BHP Billiton,” he said.