Wollongong Coal to restart Wongawilli mining

Wongawilli Colliery.

Wongawilli Colliery will restart mining after it was given approvals for a time extension modification, creating 110 jobs.

The mine entered care and maintnance in August last year following a series of misadventures and falling coal prices.

Wongawilli's future was first put in doubt following the burial of a longwall shearer at the site after a roof collapse, which hampered production and reduced the need for a number of operational workers on site.

An attempt to negotiate a new EA, in the hope of saving jobs, was voted down by employees when Wollongong Coal proposed they work for $21 an hour and slashed other provisions such as accident pay and annual leave entitlements.

"It would have given us one of the worst enterprise agreements in the coal industry, and would have lowered the wages to 1970s or 80s wages," CFMEU district president Bob Timbs said at the time.

Workers claimed the company did not negotiate the EA in good faith and said it was Wollongong Coal’s intention to go back to mining a single unit on day shift at Wongawilli, requiring just 15 employees.

The move saw 105 workers go in a single day.

Then production halted completely.

Now operations are set to restart.

“After carefully reviewing the conditions of the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) approval, Wollongong Coal is pleased to announce that it will proceed with recommencing mining operations at Wongawilli,” operations manager Rhys Brett said.

“Wongawilli Colliery is an important asset for the company and a key part of our long-term strategy for extract6ing and exporting high-quality coking coal for the production of steel and generating local employment.

“The approval will allow mining activities previously approved in 2011 to continue for another five years, and will create 110 jobs for Illawarra miners and generate up to $19 million in royalties to the NSW Government.”

Delta SBD will carry out the restart operations, and provide technical expertise, personnel, and equipment services at the mine.

“The arrangements with Delta are for an interim period of two years as Wollongong Coal focuses on future approvals and longer-term management and workplace arrangement at Wongawilli.”

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