Yancoal is cutting 45 jobs at its Duralie open cut mine near Gloucester, NSW, citing geological problems rather than a decline in coal prices as the the cause.
Company spokesperson James Rickards confirmed the layoffs, saying the mine currently employed around 140 people, the Newcastle Herald reports.
He said the company sought voluntary redundancies, hoping that only a few would be forced retrenchments.
The geological issues resulted in the company’s recent operational restructure, which involved downsizing from two excavating machines to one, and decreasing shift lengths from 12 hours to 8.4 hours. They also cut weekend work; returning to a five-day roster.
Around 275 workers have been axed since the coal industry decline, Rickards added.
In March, Yancoal’s Donaldson coal operation went into care and maintenance, leading to 92 redundancies. Its Abel and Austar mines also axed employees this year; 170 and 55 respectively.
Rickards went on to say coal was no longer mined from the Stratford open-cut mine, the company’s second operation in Gloucester. However, they have entered an agreement with Gloucester Resources (GR), allowing GR to use the Stratford coal washery and rail loading facilities at its proposed Rocky Hill open cut mine.
Rocky Hill is expected to produce 21 million tonnes of coal over 16 years.
The washery would handle 5.6 million tonnes a year from the Rocky Hill, Stratford, and Duralie mines.