Ensham to slash coal mine jobs

Around 100 workers have reportedly lost their job at the Ensham coal mine as the miner cuts stuff due to spiraling thermal coal prices.

The announcement comes only just over a week after Rio Tinto announced it would be slashing jobs at its new Clermont coal mine in Central Queensland, near Ensham's mine.

Soon after Rio Tinto's statement, mining unions voiced fears that more mining companies would follow suit as the price of thermal coal constricted.

"If Rio Tinto are doing theirs then obviously Xstrata and others who are also in the thermal game will be looking at what they may do next," CFMEU district president Steve Smyth said.

"Rio, whether or not they're doing it because … profitability's gone out of the market or they've got some issues I really don't know, but it certainly will make other thermal producers sit up and think and obviously in the Galilee Basin as well.

"If you've got Rio Tinto, them as a multinational laying people off, and then you've got these huge mega mines that are going to start in the Galilee Basin, you have to question how viable they're going to be and what else is going to happen to the thermal coal industry in Queensland," Smyth said.

Following Smyth's comments Ensham announced the layoffs and said stated that more people may lose their jobs if coal prices don't rebound, CQ News reports.

"We have to make sure we are producing the lowest cost coal … and unfortunately some parts of our mine are less cost competitive than others so we have had to close them down," Ensham CEO Peter Westerhuis said.

"Regrettably that has had an impact on resources required and at this point there's about 100 contractors gone.

"Quite frankly, if the price stays as low as it is, we will have to review further parts of the business with strong prospects of further reductions in the human resources required.

"We haven't quantified that figure yet, but it's not good news."

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