SYDNEY, July 2 Vedanta Resources Plc is
weighing the future of its Mt Lyell copper mine in Australia
after a rock slide this week delayed plans to restart operations
following a six-month closure.
The mine in Tasmania state, shut in January following three
fatalities and scheduled to reopen late this month, now faces
additional repair costs that places the mine's ability to turn a
profit into question, according to a spokesman for Vedanta
subsidiary Copper Mines of Tasmania (CMT), which runs the mine.
CMT was assessing what work was required and hoped to have a
clearer view in the next few days, the spokesman said.
"We will also need to reassess the economic viability of the
mine, as this latest incident will incur significant additional
costs which will negatively impact on what was already a
marginal economic position," CMT said in a statement
No injuries were reported from the slide in an unstaffed
shaft way used for ventilation at the 118-year-old mine, which
yields about 24,000 tonnes of copper a year.
Three workers were killed in the mine over a 39-day period
in December and January, leading to the suspension of
operations. Two workers died after falling down a shaft. A mud
slide killed a third man.
About 300 workers have remained on half-pay since the
closure in anticipation of a July restart, the spokesman said,
adding Vedanta was also conducting exploration work to find
additional copper sources to extend the mine's operating life.
Vedanta Chief Executive Tom Albanese, the former head of Rio
Tinto , appointed in April with a brief to get
the best out of Vedanta's underperforming mines, told Reuters in
a telephone interview that Vedanta was keen to keep copper in
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)