02/05/14 – Rio Tinto to cut jobs at Hail Creek mine

Rio Tinto is cutting jobs at it its Hail Creek coal mine in central Queensland, in the latest round of job cuts to hit the beleaguered sector, which is bracing for further price declines for the commodity.

About 8000 mining jobs have been lost in the past two years in Queensland.

Rio would not reveal the extent of the job cuts among the 950-odd employees at the mine.

A Rio Tinto Coal Australia spokesperson said “some roles at Hail Creek Mine are no longer required as part of changes to ensure the mine is sustainable in challenging conditions”.

“Like others in the Australian coal mining industry, Rio Tinto is facing the challenge of increasing costs and dropping coal prices,” he said.
“We are working to improve productivity and reduce costs across our mines.”

Hail Creek Mine, located 120 km south west of Mackay in central Queensland, exports about 8 million tonnes of hard coking coal, a type of metallurgical coal, to Asia and Europe each year.

Metallurgical coal prices have fallen to about $US100 a tonne from more than $US300 in 2011. And the price is expected to fall to nearer $90 a tonne in the June quarter.

Fellow coal producers Whitehaven Coal and Wesfarmers’ coal arm this week tipped continuing falls in metallurgical coal prices.

Rio Tinto manages Hail Creek and owns about 82 per cent of the project in a joint venture with Nippon Steel Australia Marubeni Coal and Sumisho Coal Development.

Rio said it would be providing support to sacked workers.

Source – SMH.com.au