CFMEU condemns BHP for Gregory Crinum mine closure

The CFMEU has slammed BHP following its announcement of the closure of its Gregory Crinum coal mine.

Earlier today BHP Billiton, which operates the mine as part of its BMA joint venture with Mitsubishi, stated that it would cease production at Gregory Crinum's open cut operations from 10 October this year.

It follows BMA's earlier decision to shut down the underperforming Norwich Park coal mine in March this year.

BHP explained that this "decision follows a continuing operational review of the Gregory Crinum operations, which determined that the Gregory open-cut mine production was no longer profitable in the current economic environment of falling prices, high costs and a strong Australian dollar".

BMA asset president Stephen Dumble said production costs for the Gregory open cut operation currently exceeded revenue from its sales and "therefore the only option available to the company was to cease production".

However the CFMEU has pointed the finger at BMA's "ruthless management", saying it was the real reason for the closure.

It added that it was not given any prior warning of the closure.

“The company has not been transparent with its workforce while they’re staring down the barrel of losing their jobs – this is no way to win their trust,” CFMEU district president Steve Smyth said.

The announcement is an example of the management philosophy driven by CEO Marius Kloppers that a mine is to be shut down if there is any temporary slump in profitability.

“BHP management just see these mines as money factories. If an operation starts to lose any money, even if it’s over a short-term issue, they will shut the mine down regardless of the impact on jobs and communities."

He went on to say that BHP is likely to open the mine again once commodity prices have begun trending upwards, but in the mean time “BHP should use it or lose it. If they don’t think they can mine the lease profitably, they should hand it over to someone who can.”


Image: CQ News

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