Mount Lyell workers put on half pay

NINETY Mount Lyell workers have been put on standby on half pay for the next four weeks.

A further 100 employees have been redeployed to other sites in Tasmania and beyond.

Copper Mines of Tasmania announced the suspension of all work yesterday.

The Australian Workers Union said it was working with underground mining contractor Barminco to assist workers while mining was suspended at Mount Lyell at Queenstown.

AWU Tasmania Secretary Ian Wakefield said every possible effort was being made to minimise the financial impact of the suspension on the employees.

"After a difficult period at the Mount Lyell Mine, the union and management have developed some certainty for employees in the short term," Mr Wakefield said.

West Coast Mayor Robyn Gerrity said the council was in negotiations with the state government to set up a committee to administer the funding and projects identified to assist employment of the workforce who may be stood down temporarily while work at the mine was suspended.

It is understood the remaining workers on site represented by unions other than the AWU are still in negotiations with Copper Mines of Tasmania.

A conclusion for those workers is expected today.

The federal government said yesterday counsellors and financial advisors would be available in town or over the phone if the mine's shutdown was prolonged.

Mount Lyell mine has been shut since the death in January of Barminco Ltd employee Michael Welsh, 53, in a mud rush at the site.

His death occurred less than six weeks after miners Craig Gleeson, 45, and Alistair Lucas, 25, died at the site when they fell down a mine shaft.

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