Griffin dispute worsens

THE Griffin thermal coal operations in Western Australia have ended with the fate of 300 jobs unknown as mine operator Carna Civil Mining took the step of removing its equipment from the site.
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Courtesy Griffin Coal

Blair Price

According to the ABC, the mine operating contract between Carna and Griffin owner Lanco Infratech was terminated.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union reportedly claimed that a Lanco payment to Carna had not cleared, with the contractor consequently ordering the workforce home on Monday evening “on full pay”.

“It is the fourth time in four and a half months Carna has pulled its workforce offsite, but the union said this time was different,” ABC reported.

"I think that it's coming to a head on both sides," CFMEU WA secretary Gary Wood said.

"I think both the company Lanco and Carna have to position themselves to accept in one way, shape or form their responsibilities for the mining of coal."

The Griffin-linked Bluewaters Power Station is monitoring the situation closely.

While the Collie-based Griffin and Yancoal-owned Premier mines are the only domestic thermal coal supplying operations in the state, Bluewaters can contractually take over the Griffin mine operatorship to ensure coal supply.

Carna and Griffin have declined the opportunity to comment while the WA state government does not want to get involved.

Indian conglomerate Lanco acquired the Griffin assets, a key part of former coal tycoon Ric Stowe’s failed business empire, in 2011.

In June it finally received state government approval to develop a $500 million export facility at Bunbury which could allow it to ramp up production to 15 million tonnes per annum.

Macroaxis, one of the first “robo-advisors on the internet”, has rated Lanco with a 51% chance of experiencing financial distress in the next two years.

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