16 workers at a magnesite mine in Queensland have lost their jobs after a company restructure.
QMAG, which operates the mine at Kunwarara and a magnesia production facility in Rockhampton, said the move was made to ensure the company remained globally competitive.
The workers’ last day at the mine was September 26, The Bulletin reported.
QMAG was acquired by manufacturing material supplier Sibelco in 2012, and the company’s CEO Campbell Jones said cost cutting and efficiency drives had been key strategies.
"Since acquiring the QMAG business from the previous owners in 2012, the Magnesia Business Unit has been focused on reducing operating costs, and improving volumes and sales to ensure long-term sustainability," Jones said.
"As such we've also had to change staffing numbers giving consideration to the needs of the operation and ensure its long-term viability."
He said where possible workers would be rehired within the Sibelco group of businesses.
However Australian Workers' Union Rockhampton organiser Craig Sell has accused Sibelco of hiring new workers around the same time it cuts jobs.
"It just doesn't add up," Sell said.
"While they have been terminating these guys, they have been hiring new employees."
Sell said the sacked local workers were devastated to lose their jobs, accusing Sibelco of lacking transparency during the restructure process.
"It's not the thousands going in the mining industry, but they're locals, not fly-in fly-out from another state," Sell said.
"They definitely could have handled i tbetter. They were not forthcoming with information to substantiate their position that it was necessary."