Mass contractor lay-offs in Gunnedah Basin

IDEMITSU Australia Resources has joined Whitehaven Coal in reducing contractor numbers at operations in New South Wales’ Gunnedah Basin, with the Japanese giant confirming that 106 Downer EDI employees will be made redundant at its Boggabri mine.
Mass contractor lay-offs in Gunnedah Basin Mass contractor lay-offs in Gunnedah Basin Mass contractor lay-offs in Gunnedah Basin Mass contractor lay-offs in Gunnedah Basin Mass contractor lay-offs in Gunnedah Basin

Location of the Boggabri coal Mine. Courtesy of Idemitsu.

Lou Caruana

In a statement, Idemitsu said Downer EDI Mining was to undertake a shift restructure as an interim measure to meet business circumstances surrounding the mine which had been badly affected by delays in receiving government approvals.

Idemitsu Australia Resources chief operating officer Rod Bridges said the shift restructure was expected to impact a number of the mining contractor’s employees at the mine.

Recent coal chain capacity constraints contributed to the need for the shift restructure.

“This is a very unfortunate situation and we understand the planned shift restructure by our contractor, Downer EDI Mining, has been unavoidable given the current circumstances,” he said.

Bridges said delays in receiving state and federal government approval related to the extension of Boggabri coal mine also had an impact on production at the mine.

“Boggabri coal mine is a long-standing member of the local community and is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure the mine continues to provide opportunities to support the needs of the community,” he said.

“Idemitsu Australia Resources is currently making a concerted effort to improve the situation for our contractor to help them to resume standard operating shifts at the mine.”

Last month Whitehaven Coal cut another 40 jobs as part of a cost-cutting initiative to ensure a future for its Tarrawonga and Rocglen open cut mines.

Whitehaven is conducting the second phase of a business review to cut costs at its open cut mines and the Narrabri longwall operation after the company reported a half-year net loss after tax of $47 million.

The company blamed weak global coal prices, the unfavourable foreign exchange rate and increasing pressure on operating cash margins for the job losses.

It follows the shock decision to end a drivage contract at its Narrabri mine with Delta SBD nine months early.

The changes include amended mine plans that deliver reduced stripping ratios at both operations, allowing a reduction in total installed mining fleet by two 2500 excavators, one at Rocglen and one at Tarrawonga.

As a result, haul truck numbers at each site will be reduced by four – a total of eight across the group.

About 30 permanent Whitehaven positions and 10 contractor roles were made redundant as a result of the decision.

The redundancies impact Whitehaven’s mine operations and maintenance staff, as well as contractors.