Centennial bite the bullet
By LEN ASHWORTH Nov 29,2012, 4 a.m.
IN another disturbing development for the all important local mining
industry the western field’s biggest operator, Centennial Coal, has
announced a suspension of production at its newest mine, Airly.
The Airly mine, near Capertee, has been operating for only a few months.
It is now to be placed on care and maintenance with inevitable job losses.
Centennial will also stop production at its Mannering mine on the central coast.
A spokesperson for Centennial said yesterday the company was seeking to deploy as many of the displaced miners as possible.
The company has rejected reports from some media outlets yesterday that as many as 100 miners would lose their jobs.
Manager External Affairs Katie Brassil emphasised an anticipated 40 job
losses were anticipated ‘spread across the entire group, not just from
Airly or Mannering’.
New capital expenditure is also being put on hold but Ms Brassil said
that an expansion project at Angus Place and the coal loader extension
at Wallerawang will not be affected and will go ahead as planned.
In a prepared statement released on Tuesday evening Centennial Coal said:
most other companies in the mining industry Centennial Coal
(Centennial) has been reviewing its mining operations in response to the
recent significant decrease in the US dollar price of export thermal
coal over the past few months combined with the high Australian dollar.
industry is suffering from record high production costs, a result of
the resources boom-driven competition for scarce resources increasing
wages and other input costs, but also the impost of increased government
processes and charges.
As a result of this review, capital
expenditure on a number of projects has been deferred, which will impact
some positions across the group, and regretfully Centennial has decided
to place both Mannering (Lake Macquarie) and Airly Mine’s (Western
Coalfields) on ‘care and maintenance’ commencing January 2013.
decision to place these two mines on ‘care and maintenance’ has not
been taken lightly,” Centennial’s Chief Operating Officer Steve Bracken
“Both mines have struggled to make a positive contribution
in their own right not only through the lower coal price but a
combination of difficult mining conditions, poor coal quality and, in
the case of Airly, transport costs have hindered the viability of these
“In the current market, their losses can no longer be
absorbed without negatively impacting the group’s overall performance,”
Mr Bracken said.
redeploy the majority of these employees to neighbouring sites across
the group minimising redundancies to about 40,” he said.
‘care and maintenance’ both mines will continue to meet safety and
environmental regulations, studies and approvals currently under way
will be progressed and the sites appropriately maintained to enable a
reopening when market conditions improve.
Centennial are not the
only mining company with major disruptions, head to page three in
today's Lithgow Mercury to see how Coalpac staff have been effected by
Posted for Guy