Quake forces Renison to stop its production

ANOTHER West Coast mine is in a tight spot, made tighter after an earthquake forced a processing halt.

The Renison tin mine was already marginal due to low tin prices before the August 2 quake, according to half-owner Metals X Limited’s CEO, Peter Cook.

“We are doing our best to ride through this tough period in the mine and tin industry without impact on people’s livelihoods and the West Coast mining community,” Mr Cook said yesterday.

As well as Renison’s difficulties –

■ The Mt Lyell mine remains closed and a re-opening is not certain;

■ efforts to secure a buyer for the mothballed Avebury nickel mine are continuing, with definite interest after a previous sale deal fell over;

■ the Henty Gold Mine is scheduled to close, although there are hopes an exploration drive will revive it;

■ Savage River miner Grange Resources’ return per tonne of iron ore production went negative in the June quarter; and

■ Henty aside, exploration spending is shrivelling amid lower prices for a range of metals.

Mr Cook said the processing plant at Renison stopped production on Sunday night when the mine ran out of surface stock.

“Production from unaffected areas has continued,” Mr Cook said.

“However, the area where the footwall development was slightly impaired by the seismic event is still under review.”

He said ground support did its job and held all the ground together, and there were no injuries or damage to equipment from the quake.

“However, as a consequence, mining areas below this point remain inaccessible which is significantly impairing productivity.”

Mr Cook said the plant would not operate this week as stock was built up for a re-start, while some scheduled maintenance was being brought forward.

Metals X is now making most of its money from its growing gold division on the mainland, rather than from Tasmanian tin.

The magnitude three quake’s epicentre was about five kilometres west of Rosebery.

MMG’s Rosebery Mine was not affected.

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