28 Sep 2012

Miners call for heads to roll at Solid Energy

6:02 am on 28 September 2012

Disgruntled Spring Creek miners are calling for heads to roll at Solid Energy.

The state-owned company has announced redundancies at its coal mines at Spring Creek on the West Coast and Huntly East in Waikato, with more than 450 jobs to go.

At Spring Creek more than 200 workers face redundancy and 130 contractors will lose work after the company announced plans to mothball the underground mine.

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union says more than 100 miners met on Thursday night and voted unanimously for the managers at Solid Energy to resign.

The union's West Coast representative, Garth Elliot, says at least nine managers have been able to keep their jobs.

"We don't understand why a mine that's going to be under care and maintenance is going to have so much management. It's still once again very top heavy ... those concerns will be put to the company during the consultation period."

Mr Elliot says miners are frustrated those managers have not been made redundant when their mismanagement of Spring Creek led to its closure.

Govt support urged for new mine

The mayor of the Grey District says the Government needs to get behind plans to open a new mine on the West Coast in order to save coal mining from a bleak future.

Tony Kokshoorn says the only way forward in coal mining is to fast-track the opening of a new open cast mine behind Spring Creek.

Mr Kokshoorn says this has been proposed by Solid Energy, which needs the Government to get behind the project to make it happen.

Many miners could work on the Christchurch rebuild as a stop gap for two years, and then return to the West Coast once the new mine opens, he says.