30 Sep 2009

More jobs cut at West Coast mine

6:46 am on 30 September 2009

Solid Energy has announced another 70 jobs will go at its Stockton mine near Westport, where 80 positions were cut in July.

The state-owned enterprise says the cuts are due to inefficiencies at the country's largest opencast coalmine and a drop-off in the demand for, and the price of, coal.

The company recently entered into a joint venture with Australian-based Downer EDI Mining, to run the mine.

Doug Hood Mining and Kaipara have operated the mine on behalf of Solid Energy for almost six years. About 70 of their drivers, digger operators and maintenance staff will lose their jobs when Downer EDI takes over this weekend.

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has rejected the company's claims there may be positions in the future for the employees who've lost their jobs.

However, Buller mayor Pat McManus is confident the job cuts will only be temporary, given coal prices are forecast to climb next year.