SMM: Glencore International (Glencore) and the Queensland government of Australia announced on Wednesday that they would spend A $500m (US $356 million) on extending the life of their copper smelter in Queensland beyond 2022 after a financing agreement was reached.
Glencore said it received an one-off award from the state government on the eve of the Queensland election at the end of October, including incentive money for its Mount Isa copper smelter and Townsville copper refinery.
The Queensland government said it had provided "millions of dollars" in support, but did not provide further details.
Queensland Governor Anastasia Palasha said that in the severe economic situation caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the government money will help protect jobs and maintain critical capacity and supply chains.
Under the rescue plan, the brick lining at the Mount Isa smelter in the northwestern state will be replaced later next year.
"this incentive will to some extent reduce the negative costs of these assets, which face high fixed costs and are difficult to compete with other competitors internationally," Glencore said.
Electricity price is a large part of the cost of metal production. For years, Australian manufacturers have been grappling with high electricity prices.
The government said the agreement would secure jobs at about 570 smelters and refineries, as well as 520 jobs for chemical maker Incitec Pivot in northern Queensland.
As part of the A $8 billion financing plan, the Queensland government will also invest A $50 million in the Mount Isa railway line to increase capacity between the state's northwest mining area and (Townsville), the largest port in Townsville.
Glencore also said it would also study the economic feasibility of large-scale electronic recycling or custom smelting.