Solid Energy is proposing cuts in management and support services jobs at its Stockton mining operations as part of its on-going response to depressed global coal prices
The company has today outlined a change proposal to management and support services employees at Stockton Mine which would see these roles reduce by 45, from 186 roles to 141.
If the proposal proceeds, 15 people are likely to be made redundant. That is because a number of roles are currently vacant due to a hiring freeze that has been in place since August last year.
Solid Energy Chairman, Mark Ford says, “While the Government as owner of Solid Energy continues to work with the company’s funding partners to determine the future of Solid Energy’s capital structure, we remain confident that the business has a good operating future and Stockton’s role in that is central. The company has a long proud history on the West Coast and we’re absolutely committed to the Buller and our Stockton mining operation.
“We have a good business provided we can keep bringing our costs down and operate within the volatile pricing of the international coal market. These proposed changes in management and support services jobs reflect that and are necessary to ensure the mine’s profitability in the current market for steel-making raw materials, including the high-quality coking coal the mine produces for export.
“The short and medium-term mine plans for Stockton include simplifying the mining operations, with less exploration, resource proving and other activities which go into new pit development,” Mr Ford says. “These changes are essential for Stockton to operate at current international steel coal prices of around US$131.50 tonne, versus US$225 a year ago and US$330 in mid-2011.”
Last month, Stockton Alliance, the mine operator, reached an agreement with the Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union that allows for the flexible workforce rosters needed to adjust to any further downward pricing in the market.
Note: Stockton Alliance, the mine operator, is a partnership between mine owner Solid Energy and Downer EDI Mining NZ Ltd. Almost all of Stockton’s coal is sold on long-term contracts to international metallurgical coke manufacturing plants and steelmakers.