Canadian Mining Journal


CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE: Canada’s newest copper smelter to close

The Kidd Creek copper smelter in Timmins, ON, is to close permanently on May 1, 2010, Xstrata Copper announced...

The Kidd Creek copper smelter in Timmins, ON, is to close permanently on May 1, 2010, Xstrata Copper announced earlier this week. On the same date, the Kidd Creek zinc refinery will also cease operations permanently. The Kidd Creek mine and concentrator will continue to operate, but there will be about 700 fewer smelter and refinery jobs in Timmins.


Xstrata said the closures are part of restructuring its Canadian metallurgical operations. It blamed global smelting overcapacity, record low treatment and refining charges, rising operating and capital costs, and lower demand for sulphuric acid for the decision. The situation has been exacerbated by the strength of the Canadian dollar compared to the U.S. greenback, said the company. The shutdown cost of the two metallurgical plants and asset impairment charges will cost Xstrata approximately US$375 million.


The remaining Kidd Creek assets, the mine and concentrator, will be integrated with the facilities of the Horne copper smelter in Rouyn-Noranda, QC, and the CCR refinery in Montreal.


Ironically, the closure of Canada’s oldest copper smelter will also take place by mid-2010. The 80-year-old smelter in Flin Flon, MB, is to close by July 1, 2010. HudBay Minerals announced its decision because the smelter is in need of a total technological overhaul and because of a shortage of concentrate feed.


The closure of the old Flin Flon smelter is understandable because the industry knew that it was at the end of its technological life, despite numerous modernizations over the years.


The Kidd copper smelter is Canada’s newest, less than 30 years old. I was there and wrote a definitive story when it was commissioned. It boasted some truly remarkable automation advances. The closure of the Kidd smelter, one that should have operated at relatively low costs, is a blow – to the people of Timmins and to Canada’s position as a world-class copper producer.

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3 Comments » for CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE: Canada’s newest copper smelter to close
  1. gary barratt says:

    What a load of bull. And we are going to ship copper from B.C copper
    mountain to japan for smelting . If its mined here it should have to be processed here. We need value added production jobs !

  2. Chig 2010 says:

    After the tsunami in Japan, they are unable to handle Copper Mountains smelting…so why not do it here and help our economy.. Isn’t it time to bring those jobs back home? Wasn’t that why Harper cut the corp. tax?

  3. Rob Lewis says:

    The New Gold at Kamloops BC shipped its first load of copper concentrate yesterday (July 5) It is being trucked to Vancouver than off to India and the Philippines for smelting. The mine is ramping up to an anticipated six 50 ton truck loads a day of concentrate shipped at 25% percent pure copper. There is another major copper mine at Kamloops in the planning stages (Ajax) that is expected to produce evan more yet. Also the nearby Highland Valley mine at Logan Lake is still in full production. Kamloops has both CN & CP running through. One would thing the ethical and patriotic thing to do would be to transport all this concentrate to a Canadian smelter and the added value work kept in the country.

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