One of my most vivid memories from my time at Kirwan High in Townsville is of the visit my grade 8 manual arts class made to the copper refinery. Proud refinery staff tried to explain in simple terms the science behind electrolytic copper refining, regarding which the Townsville refinery was apparently a world leader (see Xstrata copper refinery celebrates 50 years). I remember I was very impressed by the mighty cathode stripping machines, which separated the deposited copper from the stainless steel cathode plates to which it had become affixed.
Hence I was disappointed to learn of Xstrata’s decision to close the copper refinery (City reels after refinery closure), but its impact on Townsville’s economy is likely only to be temporary. Even though it directly and indirectly affects up to 260 workers, their prospects are good, as the Bulletin reports, with Xstrata committing to redeploying workers and the current skills shortages meaning any unemployment among workers indirectly affected should be temporary.
Despite the refinery closure, Townsville’s economic prospects are very sound indeed, with an expansion of Lavarack Barracks and a Queensland Government commitment to boost its presence in the city. My previous post on Townsville’s economic prospects is here: