North Goonyella to lay off employees

PEABODY Energy is consulting with the mining union about the roles that will be cut by the company’s decision to implement a preferred pathway to resume production at its North Goonyella mine in Queensland.
North Goonyella to lay off employees North Goonyella to lay off employees North Goonyella to lay off employees North Goonyella to lay off employees North Goonyella to lay off employees

Peabody Energy's North Goonyella coal mine in Queensland.

Mining has been stopped at North Goonyella since an underground fire there in 2018.

Peabody announced it would abandon the mine's 10 North panel and based on this approach, it expects it could take three years or more to resume meaningful production at North Goonyella.

As a result of this extended timeframe, Peabody president of Australian operations Marc Hathhorn said the company had made the decision to reduce its site employees significantly over the next couple of months.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our North Goonyella team and their families for their hard work, dedication and loyalty over the past year in helping us try to get this great mine back into production," he said.

"We will try to redeploy as many of our people as possible to our other Australian mines and we commit to working closely with unions, industry groups and other mining companies to find jobs for our team in what is, thankfully, a healthy jobs market for mine workers."

A Peabody spokeswoman told Australia's Mining Monthly that the company was looking to redeploy as many workers as possible.

"There are 97 [in the] workforce and all of them are impacted," she said.

"There are 82 salaried staff and we are working quickly to understand how many of these roles are required to keep the mine compliant."

Due to the time, cost and regulatory approach required to ventilate and re-enter the rest of the mine Peabody decided after a three month review that it would not attempt to access the mine beyond Zone B.

Instead Peabody will seek pre-approval from the Queensland Mines Inspectorate to ventilate Zone B from the surface using large bore holes drilled above ground.

If this approach is approved and successful, the company plans to re-enter Zone B and assess conditions with a target of developing the southern panels that contain approximately 20 million tons of high quality hard coking coal.

According to Peabody, re-entering Zone B will allow it to maximise the value of the high-quality coal at North Goonyella while reducing significant, ongoing costs that have mounted since the incident last year.