More lay-offs at Hunter coal mine shows planning system is not the problem

Published: November 04, 2014

The lay-off of 150 people to cut costs at BHP’s Mount Arthur mine just six weeks after the NSW Planning and Assessment Commission gave the company approval to expand the operation is proof that mining approvals can't save or create jobs in the coal industry at a time when the market for coal is in decline.

The Mount Arthur mine secured approval from the Planning and Assessment Commission to expand its production and extend its life just six weeks ago, despite objections from many people and businesses living with the impacts of the mine, which is the country's biggest. Today, BHP have announced that they are laying off 150 workers from the Mount Arthur mine to cut costs.

Over 2,500 jobs have been lost in the coal industry in the Hunter Valley in the last two years in response to falling demand, oversupply and low prices.

Lock the Gate NSW Coordinator, Georgina Woods said, "The NSW Minerals Council has tried to blame the NSW Government planning process for job losses in the industry, but the Mt Arthur coal mine proves it is the industry itself that is responsible for the vast majority job losses.

"The Mt Arthur approval, and subsequent loss of 150 jobs, shows that approving the expansion of coal mining doesn't create or save jobs.

"If we want to create jobs in the Hunter, it’s time to look the coal companies in the eye and insist that they repay the debt they owe the communities of the Hunter Valley by paying now to rehabilitate degraded mining moonscapes. 

"If the State Government wants to save and create jobs in the Hunter, they will make the mining companies invest in rehabilitating the region, and stop the dangerous mine expansions that are costing jobs in agriculture and manufacturing.

"The coal industry is in turmoil, and it is in decline. The mining companies have shown they will ruthlessly cut jobs when the chips are down. The Hunter region doesn’t need more mining approvals, it needs a plan to defend land and water resources and to sustain jobs in the long-term.” 

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