Newmont set to slash mining jobs
More Waikato mining jobs are set to go as Newmont Waihi Gold cuts its operating costs.
The subsidiary of global mining giant Newmont Mining Corporation made its announcement yesterday as a delegation from Solid Energy's Huntly East coal mine lobbied State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall to step in and force the completion of a vital ventilation shaft.
In a statement, Newmont Waihi Gold said it expected about 20 staff and contractors to be affected.
More than 300 staff and contractors are directly employed by Newmont Waihi Gold.
Affected individuals were notified yesterday but the full scope of losses and changes would be finalised on October 2.
External affairs manager Sefton Darby said the cuts would be in the exploration, geology and administration departments but production staff would largely be unaffected.
Some prospecting permits on Coromandel and Northland will be relinquished and others will be scaled back.
"I think what you're seeing across Newmont globally are cuts, quite substantial ones," Darby said.
"What we're hoping is some of the costs will start coming down and if that happens, hopefully we won't have to make any further cuts."
While the price of gold has been strong over the past five years, costs have been rising by 15 per cent a year, he said.
"Our production is down quite significantly this year and our costs are through the roof so we're making a loss this year at the Waihi end of operation."
Staff at Newmont's four mines and regional headquarters in Australia have also been notified this week of likely redundancies.
Where possible NWG will be seeking to offer changes of jobs rather than redundancies, and some staff are in the process of being offered jobs at other Newmont sites overseas.
Meanwhile, seven Huntly East miners left for Wellington at 3am yesterday to try to convince Ryall to intervene and force Solid Energy to complete the mine's new ventilation shaft.
The state-owned company confirmed on Monday that it would reduce Huntly East mine's staff by 63, from 234 positions to 171, cancel the major ventilation project and halt all major underground development.
Miner and union convenor Brian Lynch said Ryall was confident in the company's decision.
"Basically they don't want to put any money into it," he said from Wellington.
"It's for the board and the company to run. He was adamant they wouldn't put money in."
Mr Lynch said completion of the ventilation shaft would give workers confidence because the mine could only keep operating for up to three years without it.
Next Wednesday, everyone employed at the mine is expected to receive a letter in the post stating whether they still have a job.
- © Fairfax NZ News