Sandvik slashes NSW positions

IN a horror week for the New South Wales coal mining industry and its supplier chain network, the Sandvik Group has announced the relocation of its Conveyor Component Production unit from Heatherbrae to Western Australia, with the loss of approximately 25 jobs from NSW.
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Sandvik's Heatherbrae site

Lou Caruana

In addition, the company will make a further 12 roles redundant across other production units at its Heatherbrae Hunter Valley Site (HVS) facility as a result of reduced activity levels in the Australian and global mining industry – particularly the coal sector.

This follows news that NSW coal producer Centennial Coal will be slashing 120 positions as it adjusts to a period of high Australian dollar and low thermal coal prices.

Sandvik Australia country manager Rowan Melrose said Sandvik’s Bayswater WA operation currently manufactures the majority of rollers and pulleys for the local Australian market, as well as having a strong export market.

“After an extensive review of our global conveyor component capacity, it has been decided to consolidate all of our Australian roller manufacturing activities into our main conveyor component facility in Bayswater, Western Australia,” he said.

“Operating for over 50 years, the Bayswater facility is also our main location for conveyor components engineering, technical and production expertise.

“This facility has recently been upgraded to create a more effective, efficient and flexible production lines, which will enable the most efficient use and control of all resources.

“We have made significant investments in equipment, facilities and processes to ensure Sandvik remains the market leader in the manufacture and supply of quality conveyor components,” Melrose said.

“While the closure of the Heatherbrae Conveyor Component production unit is a poor outcome for all concerned, the company is in the position where this is absolutely necessary to ensure the continuing viability of our conveyor components business.”

These redundancies will be finalised once Sandvik’s voluntary redundancy process has been completed.

“Unfortunately, the continuing decline in market conditions has meant a decreasing order intake for our market-leading mining products,” Melrose said.

“Since we announced some redundancies at this site in May 2013, forward orders have slowed further, plus we have seen a further reduction in outbound orders during the year.

“This means we have no choice but to make these additional changes,” Melrose said.

“Unfortunately, Sandvik is not alone in having to make these difficult decisions, with other suppliers of equipment and services, along with mining companies, announcing employment reductions and facing the same situation.”

All Sandvik employees affected by this announcement will be offered outplacement services through Sandvik’s Employee Assistance Program.

“We deeply regret the impact these decisions will have on the individuals concerned, their families and the Newcastle/Hunter region,” he said.

These changes reduce the overall Sandvik workforce in the region by approximately 2%.