'It was worth fighting for': CQ mine's $87M dream dashed
DENICE Bosomworth was at her morning craft meeting when the needle dropped the Mount Morgan Gold Mine would not re-open.
Cracks began to show last month in the bold, $87 million plan to resume operations and clean up tailings from a century of mining operations.
Today, Carbine Resources announced to the Australian Stock Exchange they have pulled the pin on the project, and three bosses have resigned.
Managing director Tony James gave notice of his resignation, as did directors of the company John Fitzgerald and Graham Brock.
Once operational, Carbine planned to process tailings and export the by-products to a global market.
But an economic review last month revealed Carbine wouldn't receive their expected returns, and their "all-in sustaining cost" had blown out from an expected $549/oz to $862/oz.
It spurred an SOS plea to the State Government, and key stakeholders, to negotiate better deals to make the project viable.
Carbine Resources has spent $12.7 million on the project since April 2014.
Ms Bosomworth said today's announcement was the "talk of the town", and of the half-a-dozen locals she'd spoken with, all were disappointed.
"It would have helped with employment... people felt it was worth fighting for," she said.
"It's a talking point of the town today... it would have helped with employment."
The mine had promised a total of about 180 local jobs; 110 during construction, and 70 ongoing roles once operational.
Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow joined the chorus of disappointment, and labelled the decision a "bitter blow" for the community.
"We have seen many companies come and go over the years trying to make this grand old mine come to life again," Cr Strelow said.
"Council, along with many people in Mount Morgan had high hopes for this project because it had gone further than those that came before it to becoming operational.
"To come so close to the finish line and fail now is a devastating blow for the entire region and we feel deeply for the Mount Morgan community who were hoping against hope that this project would get up and create local jobs in the town."
She commended Carbine for their "determination and resilience" in the face of difficult challenges, which ultimately proved insurmountable for them to overcome.
"We recognise that Carbine made great strides in establishing a process and a possible way forward to recover value from the tailings and we are not giving up hope that this mine will work again in the future," Cr Strelow said.
Sixth-generation Mount Morgan local and Morning Bulletin reporter Sean Fox said it was a sad outcome for the town, which has "contributed so much to the Australian mining industry".
His family had also been heavily involved in the mine, which was operational from 1882 to 1981.
"My ancestors were riggers, my great granddad was a boss at the mine, grandma was a typist and she started on the same day the decimal currency began in Australia," Mr Fox said.
"My grandad, Alan Bosomworth drove the haulpak and Euclid trucks down the open cut."
Mr Fox had anticipated the mine was going to "revitalise the town and put it back on the map".
He hopes the latest blow won't stop lobbying to save the mine and help the environment "recover from the effects of a century of mining", particularly in regards to the Dee River.