Rio cut 40 jobs at coal mine

Rio Tinto has cut 40 jobs at Mount Thorley Warkworth mine after a court last week overturned permission for the company to expand the mine.

Rio Tinto has cut 40 jobs at Mount Thorley Warkworth mine after a court last week overturned permission for the company to expand the mine.

The company have lodged a Supreme Court appeal against the decision to halt the mine expansion.

While announcing the appeal, the company also said it had cut 40 employees and contractors from the mine on Monday, SMH reported.

Last week, Rio Tinto warned it would review the viability of the mine, as Coal & Allied managing director Darren Yeates slammed the NSW planning system after the decision.

‘Mount Thorley Warkworth mine has been operating for 30 years and this rejection threatens the jobs of the 1300 employees who rely on its future,’’ Yeates said.

''It is also a setback for hundreds of suppliers across the Hunter Valley and NSW who do business with the Mount Thorley Warkworth mine and will directly impact the region's economy.

''The overturning of the decision followed a rigorous 3½-year government process, and the granting of approval by both state and Commonwealth environment departments.”

The company has been granted approval in 2012 to mine bushland next to the town that had been set aside as an ‘‘offset’’ a decade ago. It was to create 150 mining jobs, and extract 18 million tonnes of coal a year.

The decision to halt the expansion comes after a legal challenge from the Bulga-Milbrodale Progress Association.

Justice Brian Preston, chief judge of the Land and Environment Court said he group’s appeal should be upheld due to “the significant, diverse biological adversity, noise and dust and social impacts of the project''.

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