The further extension of the Northparkes Mines until 2032 was officially confirmed this week.
It means the mine will continue to play a major role in Parkes’ continued development and provide employment for hundreds of workers for another two decades.
Northparkes Mines Managing Director, Stefanie Loader advised staff of the development last Friday.
“It is with great excitement that I announce we have full approval for our Mine Life Extension Project from both the NSW and Federal Governments,” she said.
“This approval extends Northparkes’ mine life until 2032, an additional seven years, and secures our business’ long term future.
“Thank you to everyone across Northparkes who has been involved in the Step Change Project who worked so hard to secure this important approval.
“Construction can now begin on the Rosedale Tailings Storage Facility, which will enable us to continue mining beyond 2016.
“Thanks also go out to our community for their continued support, especially the Parkes and Forbes Shire Councils.
“I look forward to Northparkes continuing to be a significant business and community member of the Central West region for many years to come.”
During the construction of the Tailings Storage Facility there will be more contractors onsite at Northparkes.
However otherwise, the mine life extension means Northparkes will operate at roughly the same size in terms of employment and production for an extra seven years – to 2032.
Northparkes currently has some 309 full time employees – with more than 400 people, sometimes considerably more, when including all contractors on site at various times.
Mayor Cr Ken Keith warmly welcomed the announcement of the mine extension.
“This approval means that the mine life for Northparkes Mines has been extended an additional seven years,” he said.
“This ensures Northparkes Mines will continue to be part of our community well into the future.
“Over the past 20 years Northparkes has been a wonderful corporate citizen.
“The mine provides a Community Investment Program, sponsorships of local events such as the Elvis Festival Street parade and GP Cup, as well as funding council partnership positions.
“Northparkes Mines staff members also volunteer their time on projects within the shire such as the revitalisation of Memorial Hill.
“I am very pleased that this announcement will allow our strong relationship to continue.”
Cr Keith said it was also an exciting announcement for new mine owners China Molybdenum Co. Ltd (CMOC) who purchased an 80% stake in Northparkes Mines from Rio Tinto late last year (the Sumitomo Groups own the other 20%).
“It will also provide confidence in the Parkes shire economy,” he said.
“Mining is an important economic pillar in the Parkes economy.
“Our shire is lucky to have a strong diverse economy which is underpinned by mining, agriculture, transport and logistics and the public sector.
“Mining makes up 30% of the shire’s Gross Regional Product (GRP) and employs about 7% of the shire's workforce.
“This announcement will add security to our economic base over the long term,” Cr Keith said.
“Despite this positive announcement, council needs to constantly look to further strengthen and diversify our economy.
“We will continue to lobby governments to pursue policies of decentralisation and infrastructure development, such as the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail to ensure economic growth and stability into the future, in a post mining environment,” Cr Keith concluded.