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Anglo American will cut 200 jobs at Queensland coal mine

World Coal,

Anglo American, currently running a productivity review to reduce labour costs, will cut 200 mining jobs from its Dawson coal mine in Queensland, Australia, but the end of the month.

The move comes in response to a weak and oversupplied coal market. General manager of the Dawson mine, Aaron Puna, said that Anglo American began reviewing its 1400 strong workforce on Monday 5 November, as the company looks to maintain profitability.

“The continuing low coal prices have placed considerable pressure on the profitability of the Dawson operation,” Puna said. “We will be implementing some necessary changes to address the current financial state of the operation and to improve profitability.”

Only a portion of the redundancies will be voluntary, with contractors and permanent staff losing their jobs as the mine restructures its personnel.

Coal mine operations

Puna stressed that even with the job losses, the Dawson mine, near Moura, would remain one of the largest coal mines in Queensland.

Coal exports from the Dawson mine use existing rail infrastructure as they are taken to the Queensland port of Gladstone. The coal is then shipped primarily to Japanese steel plants and power generators.

Anglo American operates the Dawson mine, holding a 51% in the operation. Japanese trading company Mitsui, owns the remaining 49%.

The Dawson mine has operations in three pits – south, central and north – spanning a distance of 60 km. The mine has a production rate of 9 million tpa, producing metallurgical and thermal coal for export markets using highwall mining methods, according to data on Anglo American’s website.

Union criticises job cuts

Stephen Smyth, Queensland district president for the Construction, Forestry, Nining and Energy Union, has criticised Anglo American’s management and decision to cut jobs. Smyth said workers helped boost productivity to AU$ 4.7 billion profit and that they deserved security. He argued that stability of its mining workforce should be part of Anglo American’s long-term strategy.

“Like many multinationals operating in the Bowen Basin, Anglo has demanded more from its mineworkers to make up for management allowing production costs to get out of control at the height of the boom,” Smyth said.

The Queensland Resource Council estimates that 8000 mining jobs have been lost since May 2013.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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