Xstrata Shuts Down Cosmos Nickel Mine in Australia; Sinclair Remains Open

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | September 27, 2012 12:15 PM EST

Australia's dwindling mining activity has again tempered jobs, this time numbering 150, after mining giant Xstrata PLC announced the impending closure of its Cosmos nickel mine in Western Australia on falling prices of the commodity.

The 150 jobs, a combination of both permanent employees and contractors, will have to go as the company begins a care-and-maintenance schedule at the mine, Xstrata said in a statement Wednesday. 

The suspension of operations at the Cosmos nickel mine, however, will not affect that of the nearby Sinclair Nickel Operations, which is located 100 kilometres south of Cosmos. Sinclair is expected to produce approximately 7,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate this year.

The Anglo-Swiss mining company likewise cleared the evaluation of the newly-discovered Odysseus, Odysseus North and Odysseus Massive deposits at Cosmos will continue, but is "dependent upon market conditions."

It hopes to complete the relative feasibility study by the first quarter of 2014 to enable an investment decision.

Earlier this month, Xstrata said it will cut 600 jobs across its Australian coal operations, as part of an ongoing review to ensure business profitability.

Cosmos first produced concentrate in April 2000. Since then, more than 2.9 million tonnes of ore have been successfully mined at Cosmos to produce 127,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate, including an estimated 4,200 tonnes year-to-date in 2012.

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