​Stockton coal mine slashes jobs

Embattled New Zealand miner Solid Energy has cut more than 150 positions from its Stockton coal mine as its future looks in doubt.

Earlier this year the ability of the company to continue operation was brought to the fore, as the NZ finance minister Bill English stated that the state owned company may no longer be financially viable.

The statements come on the back of Solid’s bonds, to the tune of NZ$53.9 million, being written off by its backer TSB Bank.

This equates to the total book value of its loans.

Another major bank in NZ also wrote to the miner expressing concern over the company’s financial solvency.

The New Zealand Government is also understood to have extended indemnity to the company.

At the time the New Zealand Government stated it was not preparing to place the miner into receivership, however it appears to have now backflipped.

English recently stated that he is unsure if the company is still viable, and raised the prospect of its potential collapse.

18 months of regular briefings on Solid Energy’s financial state have not produced a stable vision for its future operation.

“It’s still not clear [if the company is viable], and that’s with very serious and competent efforts by the board and management of Solid Energy, and now, increasing focus from the banks,” he told Stuff.

“Solid Energy has done a lot of work to right-size itself, but the coal price has kept falling away in front of them and that's made it a continuing challenge.”

This ongoing difficult has seen the miner take the knife to positions at its mines.

It has confirmed it will cut 151 positions from the Stockton coal mine, according to Stuff.co.nz.

However, this will mean only 113 workers will actually lose jobs, as the mine already had 38 empty roles.

This latest announcement comes less than a year after it cut 100 jobs from the site.

Solid Energy CEO Dan Clifford said at the very least there will be some relief amongst remaining workers that the mine hasn’t shut down completely.

“It is a painful situation. The best thing that we can do in relation to that is stabilise the company as best we can…and keep as many people in employment as we can,” Clifford said.

It is believed the move will cut costs by around $36 million annually, coupled with a one-off $4.3 million payment to cover redundancies.

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