Yancoal job cuts follow expansion approval: systemic adjustment needed

Published: July 24, 2015

Lock the Gate Alliance says the announcement by Yancoal Australia of over 200 job cuts at its Austar and Abel coal mines in the Hunter region shows the urgent need for structural adjustment in the thermal coal mining sector, as the local industry flounders in response to the structural decline of thermal coal globally. 

Lock the Gate Alliance New South Wales spokesperson Georgina Woods said, “The Abel mine got approval to expand just eighteen months ago, and now 170 jobs are being cut there.

“It’s increasingly clear that planning approvals to expand coal production are not delivering stable jobs and that the Government has failed to meet the challenges of the changing global coal market.

“We can’t keep on approving coal expansion proposals, losing farmland and water, and then seeing workers lose their jobs shortly after.

“In the last couple of years, several mines have been given approval for damaging expansion projects only to cut jobs shortly after.

  • Peabody’s Wambo mine got approval for an additional longwall in April despite serious impacts on water resources and then in June, announced that 50 jobs were being cut.[1]
  • The Mount Owen mine got approval to increase throughput at its processing plant in November, and then in April, 60 jobs were cut there.[2]
  • BHP were granted an extension to their mining operation at Mount Arthur in September last year, and then announced 150 jobs to be cut in November.[3]

“We are told that mining projects must be approved to protect jobs. Well that’s clearly not a winning strategy any more. Instead of sacrificing further farmland and water to ever expanding mines with diminishing financial returns, we need a strategy for structural adjustment in the Hunter that safeguards our precious natural resources and develops the industries that will be able to provide secure employment in the long term – it’s looking increasingly like thermal coal won’t do that.”

[1] See media report here: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3140972/50-jobs-to-go-at-wambo-coal-mine/

[2] See media report here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-16/mining-union-continues-negotiations-over-job-cuts/6396302

[3] See media report here: http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/News/BHP-cuts-jobs-at-Mt-Arthur-coal-mine


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