42 jobs cut at Helensburgh’s Metropolitan coal mine

Peabody Energy will cut 42 jobs from Helensburgh’s Metropolitan coal mine as part of its plans to slash 400 positions from its operations across NSW and QLD.

The global miner announced plans this week to cut 400 positions across its operations in Australia, resulting in 170 job losses.

Workers at Metropolitan mine were told cuts were made to "fast-track cost improvement initiatives", The Illawarra Mercury reported.

While a Peabody spokeswoman told Australian Mining cuts would affect all of its Australian operations, the number of job cuts at specific mines was not available.

The spokeswoman said voluntary redundancies would be offered first before forced cuts if the required number was not reached.

However the CFMEU said 42 jobs would go at Helensburgh, including 29 union members.

CFMEU district vice-president Bob Timbs said he would meet the company tomorrow but doubted the full number of job cuts would be reached voluntarily.

"Obviously when there's an announcement of this type, it's quite disturbing for the blokes," he said.

"They're all out there with mortgages, cars and families."

Timbs said with the downturn facing the coal market it was unlikely workers who left the mine would find work in the Illawarra region.

"The opportunities just aren't there that there were a few years ago," he said.

"It's quite likely that the blokes who are made redundant won't be able to find employment within the local industry."

This week Peabody announced its Australian June quarter earning of $US112.5 million, compared with $US240.4 million in the same quarter last year.

Early this year the company reported US$1 billion in losses for the 4Q12 and a full-year 2012 loss of US$575.1 million.

The world’s largest private sector coal company said it was targeting an adjusted diluted loss per share of $0.26 to $0.04 for the first quarter of this year.

The targets “reflect expectations of higher Australian costs related to the timing of additional overburden removal and startup costs associated with the transition to owner operator; lower realized metallurgical coal pricing; and lower U.S. sales and pricing," Peabody said at the time.

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