Whitehaven cuts 40 coal jobs

Whitehaven Coal is laying off 40 employees from its Rocglen and Tarrawonga mines in north-west New South Wales.

The company said 30 permanent mine and maintenance staff and 10 contractors will be made redundant, SMH reported.

Managing director Tony Haggarty said cutting staff was a difficult decision to make and cited weaker coal prices and the high Australian dollar as the reason for the cuts.

‘‘However as part of the review process it became clear that decisive action needed to be taken in order to ensure our open cut business remained viable in the current low coal price environment,’’ he said in a statement.

The company employs more than 600 people, the majority live in north-west NSW.

In a statement Whitehaven said they would be implementing “cost cutting initiatives” at its Rocglen and Tarrawonga mines which include amendments to mine plans that will “deliver reduced stripping ratios” at both sites.

The company will also halve its haul truck numbers, reducing the number from eight to four in total.

This year has been a tumultuous one for Whitehaven, in January a fake press release produced by activist group Front Line Action on Coal purporting to be from ANZ bank claimed the bank had withdrawn a recent $1.2 billion loan to help develop the company’s Maules Creek project.

The press release temporarily wiped $314 million off the company’s value.

The Maules Creek development is expected to commence construction in the second half of this year.

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