HUNDREDS of jobs in New Zealand’s mining industry are under threat, with state owned Solid Energy set to reveal cost-cutting measures at two of its operations.
Fairfax NZ said it understood the West Coast’s Spring Creek Mine, and Huntly East in the North Island will be the worst affected, although there could also be cuts elsewhere.
Together the two mines employ more than 400 staff.
Solid Energy will announce its full-year result on Friday, and has already warned revenue was down $200m
Solid Energy spokeswoman Vicki Blyth said staff would be told at meetings today, but she would not confirm or deny job losses.
She also said rumours of 40 job losses at the company’s Stockton Mine, also on the South Island’s west coast, could have started due to a contractor completing a job early.
That tended to see changes to jobs.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said Solid Energy chief executive Don Elder had called him on Sunday to alert him to changes.
Details of the plans remained secret.
Elder had outlined options “from the status quo to finish up and never go back,” Mr Kokshoorn told Fairfax.
The worst case scenario was if the Solid Energy laid off all its contracting staff.
“The best is business as usual, but I don’t see that happening.”
He didn’t expect the mine to close as it would force the company to hand back its highly valuable licences.
Spring Creek is costing $5m a month and is still in the development phase with no mining, though it is ready to come on stream in six months.
Mr Kokshoorn hoped Solid Energy would not make a knee-jerk reaction to a cyclical downturn in coal prices.
“Think about this hard. Your intellectual property is your miners, who can easily get a job elsewhere. So hang in there and wait,” he said.
IMAGE: Wolfgang Thieme via Wikimedia Commons