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NZ coal miner cuts jobs

World Coal,

Coal mining company Bathurst Resources is cutting 29 office jobs as it announces a further delay to the opening of its new Denniston Plateau mine on the West Coast of New Zealand.

The mine was due to open in April 2014 and would generate 200 jobs, however it has been delayed infinitely, largely due to the slump in the coal export market.

Coal prices

Bathurst managing director, Hamish Bohanan, explained that the company must preserve cash as it waits for the price of coal to rise. Bohanan added that the international price for coking coal is at its lowest level in nine years.

Over the past month, the international price for coking coal has dropped from its 2012 high of over US $300/t to a current spot of approximately US$ 120/t. These low coal prices mean that Bathurst’s new mine would only just break even at start-up operating costs.

Final approval

Bathurst is waiting for final official approval to start work on the mine. The company still intends to prepare everything on the plateau in readiness for mining once the Department of Conservation grants it an authority to enter and operate.

Bathurst intends to delay ramping up production until such time as the market is deemed to be recovering.

The board and executive have also agreed to an immediate reduction in pay of up to 30%.

Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward

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