CHANGE OF HANDS: The QMAG site at Parkhurst, which has a new owner.
CHANGE OF HANDS: The QMAG site at Parkhurst, which has a new owner. CHRIS ISON

QMAG sold, 400 jobs safe

FOR the second time in a decade, Rockhampton's QMAG has changed hands - the new owner guaranteeing current jobs.

Multi-national company Sibelco yesterday announced it had acquired QMAG Limited, with Australian chief executive officer Campbell Jones saying the sign-over occurred at 1pm on Monday.

He said the "just over 400" employees would remain. "We've brought this business to grow it and we are looking forward to adding it to our portfolio," Mr Jones said.

"We are looking forward to all of the people staying."

Mr Jones would not disclose the amount Sibelco fronted for the Rockhampton company, siting Sibelco was a private company.

QMAG is one of the world's largest producers of deadburned, electrofused and calcined magnesia for the global refractory and chemical markets. QMAG also produces and markets a range of magnesite products.

"The acquisition of QMAG is a continuation of our strategy to diversify our products and markets and an opportunity to leverage off our core capabilities that deliver quality, value-added products to our customers," Mr Jones said.

"Significant assets like QMAG underpin our long-term market position."

QMAG was the second Central Queensland mining company to have an overseas company take up a stake in operations this week. Japanese giant Sumitomo has swung in to give Aquila Resources $430 million for its share of the Isaac Plains mine near Moranbah.

It has also taken a 50% stake in most of Aquila's exploration sites across the state.

Mr Jones visited the Kunwarara site, 70km north of Rockhampton, yesterday afternoon.

He said he will be continuing site visits today and tomorrow.

Sibelco has about 800 employees in Queensland and about 1100 Australia-wide.

QMAG facts

In 1985 Queensland Metals Corporation (QMC) discovered the Kunwarara magnesite deposit

In December 2004 Resource Capital Funds (RCF) completed the purchase of the QMAG business - QMAG Limited was formed

Transport of beneficiated magnesite goes from Kunwarara to the Parkhurst plant in Rockhampton and to Gladstone for bulk shipment.