Spring Creek mothballed as staff laid off

MICHAEL BERRY
Last updated 09:36 28/11/2012

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The 230 Spring Creek mine workers have finished work at the the Solid Energy underground mine near Greymouth.

On Sunday, the workers finished winding down the mine and took redundancy.

Sixteen staff will be kept on at the underground mine to maintain the works until the company decides to reopen it. The care and maintenance staff will be picked from applicants from the 230 workers laid off.

Another five workers will take jobs at the nearby Rocky Creek coal washery.

Meanwhile, the axing of 162 corporate and support jobs - more than half the company's backroom staff - is well advanced.

The roles being axed include in-house accountancy and legal staff, communications staff, analysts, sales, administration and IT staff, and management and research roles.

Solid Energy spokeswoman Vicki Blyth said the company was finalising new and contestable positions.

It has some corporate and support positions at small offices in Auckland, Huntly and Westport and most at its biggest office in Show Place, Christchurch.

Several potential organisations are being canvassed to lease the space that will be left in the Christchurch office.

The company leases a Blenheim Rd building to house its renewables company Switch. Negotiations to sublease the space had started and the staff there would move out. Another small office space above the adjacent Heat Store would be vacated by Nature's Flame staff.

The wood pellet business has been spun out of Solid Energy into a separate company which will either make a profit, be sold or closed. Its staff will retrench to Taupo where the wood pellet factory is located.

The 63 jobs lost at Huntly East underground mine have already been finalised.

Overall Solid Energy is shrinking its numbers by about 450 positions or 25 per cent.

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