Stockton Mine jobs may be at risk

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 10:30 05/06/2014

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Hundreds of workers at Solid Energy's Stockton coalmine face losing their jobs this week.

The jobs of more than 300 staff at the state-owned company's West Coast mine were at risk, RadioLive reported.

Solid Energy said today that it would put a "change plan" to Stockton workers tomorrow.

An announcement is expected after the start of a consultation process with staff.

RadioLive said the Stockton work force of 540 could be cut to 200, though Solid Energy would not comment further on whether jobs would be lost or what the detail of the change plan would be.

It is understood Solid Energy chief executive Dan Clifford, who started with the company on May 5, will meet the workers tomorrow.

Former Solid Energy interim chief executive Garry Diack said today that he was on leave and and would be leaving his position with the coalminer from the end of the month.

Over the past couple of years, about 400 Stockton workers have lost their jobs.

The opencast mine has been hit by lower international demand for high-quality coking coal, particularly from China.

A Solid Energy spokesman said that given the challenging export environment, the company had been talking to all its staff about the need to "make an adjustment in the export business because of where the market is". He said the spot trading price for high-quality hard coking coal was about US$113 a tonne.

It is understood Solid Energy needs a price of about US$145 a tonne for the Stockton mine to break even.

The price got as high as US$330 a tonne in 2011.

"We are going to be talking to everybody over there tomorrow. Yes, there will be a change proposal put forward tomorrow," the spokesman said.

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