Peabody to slash Metropolitan workforce

PEABODY Energy is shedding 20-25% of the workforce at its Metropolitan longwall mine in New South Wales as part of a roster change and associated fall in production.
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The Metropolitan longwall.

Blair Price

The company recently revealed it would step down to a five-day production schedule in July which will lead to the 20-25% workforce layoffs – affecting fulltime and contract roles.

The CFMEU has estimated that about 80 workers in total will lose their jobs according to an initial press report.

A Peabody spokeswoman has said the cutbacks were “part of a plan to increase productivity, improve cash flows and optimise production at Peabody’s Australia operations given current market conditions”

The Metropolitan mine produced 2.4 million short tonnes of saleable coal last year (2.17 million metric tonnes).

While the Peabody website says there are 400 mine site workers there are estimates that the total workforce is as high as 500 when including contractors – meaning the job losses could be more than 100.

Peabody Energy senior vice president – global investor and corporate relations Vic Svec told ICN: “Peabody Energy confirmed today that the Metropolitan Mine in New South Wales is expected to transition to a five-day production schedule over the next month, leading to employee and contractor reductions of 20 to 25%.

“These actions are part of a plan to increase productivity, improve cash flows and optimize production at Peabody’s Australia operations given current market conditions. The company plans to provide additional information in its second quarter earnings release.”

The cutbacks follow a recent 15% quarter-on-quarter fall in the premium coking coal benchmark with Japanese steelmakers for the September quarter.

The previous seven-day weekly underground work roster included three shifts of 10 hours each for four days and two shifts of 12 hours each for the other three days.

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