Focus Minerals closes its third gold operation this year, another 65 jobs gone

The lower gold price has taken another casualty with Focus Minerals announcing it will cease its Coolgardie operations at the end of the month.

Suspending mining activities will see 65 jobs slashed.

In a statement the company said the Western Australian operation remains too marginal at the current gold price and has suspended all mining and processing operations.

“Despite some significant improvements in mining and processing performance in recent months… the Coolgardie operations in their current guise are unviable in the current economic environment,” Focus Minerals chairman and acting CEO Don Taig said.

“We cannot jeopardise or risk our strong cash position by continuing to operate mines that cannot be profitable on a sustaining basis.”

Greater-Coolgardie-776x1024.jpgThe miner said it will return its focus to exploration efforts, with a view to restructure its operations when the gold price improves.

“Given the recent gold price instability we are simply in a position where there is currently insufficient high-grade ore available at Coolgardie to ensure profitability at these gold prices,” Taig said.

The junior miner halted operations at its Laverton Gold project in May and closed its Mount gold mine in June due to rising costs and falling commodity prices which had made the project unprofitable.

The decision to shut the Mount mine saw 22 jobs cut.

Gold closed yesterday at $US1290.8 an ounce, down from its glory days where it spiked at over $US1700 an ounce in October 2012.

The dropping price has seen the sectors largest players, including Barrick Gold and Newcrest shed jobs.

Five workers have been made redundant at Barrick’s Lake Cowal Mine with the company blaming the decision on weak gold prices and increasing operating costs.

In June Barrick also laid off 22 workers from its Kanowna operation east of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, notified 35 staff at its global greenfields exploration unit that their positions would be moved from Perth to Canada, and retrenched 32 jobs from its Perth head office.

At the time the company warned its Australian workforce to brace itself for extensive job losses over the coming months.

Newcrest this month announced jobs will be cut at its Telfer mine in Western Australia as the gold miner continues to implement a raft of cost cutting measures across its operations.

The exact number of redundancies has not yet been finalised.

In early June Newcrest announced it would continue to cut costs “in response to the change in market conditions”.

The company have slashed more than 400 jobs from Australia and Papua New Guinea this year.


Image source: Focus Minerals.

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