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Sixty jobs on line at Reefton gold mine

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 10:23 13/06/2014

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The Buller region looks set to lose a further 60 jobs as OceanaGold Corporation downsizes its Reefton gold mine, only a week after nearly 200 jobs were said to be on the line in the coal industry.

Buller Mayor Garry Howard said OceanaGold had "indicated 60 jobs will be going in the immediate future".

In June last year the Australian company said it would wind-down the Reefton operation and head into a "care and maintenance phase" by mid-2015.

The Globe Progress opencast mine employees about 240 staff. Making 60 staff redundant would reduce the workforce by about 25 per cent.

Howard said that while the moved had been "signalled for some time" it was "still very tough on the West Coast community".

He said the mine had a positive effect on employment in Reefton, but also employed people who commuted from Greymouth and Westport.

Last Friday Solid Energy announced plans to restructure its Stockton coal mine, which would mean 187 employees and contractors would lose their jobs.

Howard said there was still an amount of relief in the Buller community that the Stockton mine was not being closed, but there would remain anxiety while people waited to find out who would lose their jobs.

With few job opportunities on the West Coast, Howard accepted that some families would be forced to leave the area. That would in turn affect local businesses and social services, he said.

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