Friday, July 19, 2024

Local businesses tired of waiting to get paid by mining company

Recent stories

Elmore Limited heralds first shipment of magnetite while creditors ignored for payment – Local businesses tired of waiting to be paid by mining company.

The first shipment of magnetite from the revitalised Peko Rehabilitation Project was heralded by media across the Territory but the news didn’t go down well with Tennant Creek locals.

The announcement angered local businesses after the good news coverage of Elmore Limited’s maiden shipment because they are waiting to get paid for services provided to the company.

NT Mining Minister said the shipment was massive news for the Territory and a huge sign of confidence in the Territory’s minerals sector and economy.

“Mining is a huge job creator for Territorians – employing over 5,900 people directly and many thousands more indirectly,” she said.

“The Peko Rehabilitation Project is seeing the rehabilitation the site in an environmentally safe and responsible manner, while also delivering a commercial return.”

However local businesses have a different story to tell. One Elmore creditor is the Goldfields Hotel, and manager Jason Groves (pictured) is ropable.

“The Minister talks about how good it is for Tennant Creek and the 70 per cent of their workforce is local,” said Mr Groves.

“Does the Minister know that those employees were poached from our businesses in Tennant Creek and now we can’t replace them because of the rental crisis in town?”

Currently there are just four rentals available in Tennant Creek, with two being just bedsits. Mr Groves says the Goldfields is owed roughly $37,000, accrued by Elmore staff accommodation and meals.

He has now given up trying for a response and has lodged court action to obtain the money owed from the mining company.

“We have to pay our bills too and we can’t do that if we don’t get paid.

“If we don’t pay our suppliers then we can’t operate, I don’t understand how they think they can.

“Just a typical mining company coming into a small town and using us to bankroll their business.”

Another local business, which did not want to be named, is owed more than $100,000.

A spokesperson for that business said the good news stories about Elmore’s first shipment was a stab to the heart to local businesses.

“We are the ones on the ground pushing that product to get it shipped out – we are doing it for them but we aren’t reaping any benefits from this project at all.”

Despite constant calls and emails to the company, creditors are saying they are being “ghosted”.

When the Tennant Times asked Minister for Mining and Industry Nicole Manison if she was aware of the issues, the reply was “I would expect anyone working in Tennant Creek to both engage with, and work well with local businesses and suppliers.

“Elmore’s operations in Tennant Creek provide the town with opportunities to grow and build capability, and for locals to be employed in well-paying jobs.

“Elmore has expressed the difficulties they inherited with this project, and I would expect them to work with the community to find solutions.”

The Tennant Times’ reached out to Elmore’s Managing Director David Mendelawitz this week for a response but at time of publication no reply was received.

Our last contact Mr Mendelawitz about the matter was in August and we received a frosty response. His anger seemed to lie with Mr Groves.

“Good luck with the article, I hope that it makes Jason feel warm and fuzzy,” he replied.

“We will continue to work to build Peko and employ local Territorians and leave him to sit at his pub complaining because our best efforts are not to his satisfaction.”

Barkly MLA Steve Edgington said he fully supported economic development but it needed to be done in a sustainable way to ensure nobody was left behind.

“Everybody needs to pay their bills and be paid for their work in a timely manner.”

Tennant & District Times 4 November 2022

This article appeared in Tennant & District Times, 4 November 2022.

KEEP IN TOUCH

Sign up for updates from Australian Rural & Regional News

Manage your subscription

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

For all the news from the Tennant & District Times, go to https://www.tdtimes.com.au/