ONE of NSW’s largest underground coal producers has announced it will cut up to 120 positions from its seven mine sites across the state, due to ongoing tough market conditions.
In late October, Centennial Coal stated the decision was based on record-high production costs, a weak US dollar export thermal coal price and a “stubbornly high” Australian dollar.
Centennial has placed two of its mines on care and maintenance in the past 12 months, in an attempt to stem its production costs and to raise productivity.
While some improvements had been achieved, gloomy market conditions were proving too strong against business profitability, the company stated.
“Unfortunately, as there are few signs of an immediate improvement, and following the conclusion of a business review of all operations, further cost reductions will have to be made in order for Centennial to sustain its business and be competitive under current market conditions,” the company said in the statement.
“While costs reductions will continue to be pursued through our suppliers and further production efficiencies, regrettably, following consultation with the workforce, Centennial has no option other than to reduce employee and contractor numbers further.”
The company said the targeted jobs would be a mixture of full-time employees and contractors, particularly at the Mandalon, Myuna and Newstan mines in the Lithgow and Mudgee regions of NSW.
With about 1800 people employed by Centennial, the job cuts represent about 7 per cent of the company’s overall workforce.
Wholly-owned by Thai mining and power company Banpu Public Company, Centennial’s quarterly results will be released on the Thai Stock Exchange in coming weeks.
Centennial has fuelled about 40 per cent of NSW’s coal-fired electrical energy needs in recent years.