Falling Coal Prices Blamed for Mines’ Suspension

From ABC News

Centennial Coal has announced operations its Airly Mine at Capertee, near Lithgow, and Mannering Mine at Lake Macquarie are being put on hold from next January.

In a statement, the company blames falling coal prices, the high Australian dollar as well as rising production costs and poor coal quality for the decision.

It is planning to redeploy most of the 180 staff who will be affected and will offer 40 redundancies to employees across the company.

Andy Honeysett from the CFMEU says the union will be speaking to Centennial Coal to try to minimise job losses.

“We’re hearing that Centennial can absorb most of the jobs not all, but we’ll be working with the company over the next week to try and ensure they can take everybody,” he said.

“Hopefully we can get those (Airly employees) absorbed into the other three mines that Centennial run in the Lithgow area.

“I know there are vacancies at the Clarence Mine, they’re going to move a substantial number up there, and then hopefully we can slot the others in to the other mines, like Angus Place and Springvale.”

Mr Honeysett says he is concerned more coal mines could be put on hold, following the suspensions.

“That always adds, definitely uncertainty, when the company says that they won’t rule out others.

“That means other projects at other mines will probably be put on hold as well, until the price of coal goes back up.

“In this economic climate, the jobs are very rare.”

Studies and approvals underway at each mine will continue and the sites will be maintained so they can reopen if the market improves.

Staff at the Airly Mine are reeling following plans to suspend operations from next January.

Benita Ribaux-Dolbel’s husband works at the mine, she says the closure will be devastating for the community.

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