Curragh coal to cut contractors

Wesfarmers' Curragh coal mine will cut back contractors as it moves from a seven to five day roster.

The miner announced it will be making the changes to its operations as a response to the current low coal prices and high Australian dollar.

Starting from mid-November, and until further notice, Curragh will make the majority of its fleet and mining activity shift from a seven day to a five day roster.

It will also limit work during the Christmas period.

As a result of these changes there "will be a reduction in contract labour hire workers on site and the use of contractors at the mine will be reduced," the company said in a statement.

According to Wesfarmers Curragh general manager Craig McCabe, the "changes are designed to ensure Curragh retained a competitive cost position in the current market environment".

However he added that "our intention to export between 8 and 8.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal for FY13 remains unchanged.

"This is not about reducing our production levels, but instead, about cost control and efficiency," he stated.

McCabe stressed that the job cuts will just be amongst its contract labour contingent, and not Curragh employees.

He added that it "will continue to monitor the situation closely and take the necessary measure to ensure our competiveness in the market".

Xstrata recently announced it will be carrying out similar changes at its Ulan coal mine, changing the working roster and cutting contractor numbers on site.

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