13 Jun 2014

Buller region hit by job losses

7:37 pm on 13 June 2014

The Buller region has been hit with a second round of job cuts in as many weeks.

Australian gold mining company OceanaGold has confirmed it will cut about 60 jobs from its mine at Reefton.

The town of Reefton.

The town of Reefton. Photo: PHOTO NZ

A spokesperson said the cuts were a confirmation of changes announced in June last year.

Mining operations will begin to wind up later this year and the mine will be placed into care and maintenance mode by late next year.

The announcement comes on the back of an announcement from coal miner Solid Energy last week that it will cut about 190 jobs at its Stockton mine.

The EPMU, which represents miners on the West Coast, is predicting a population shift following the raft of job cuts.

Spokesperson Garth Elliot said staff were shocked to hear the number of cuts which would be made, and many were unsure what to do.

Many would be forced to leave the region to find work, he said. However, the cost of living in Christchurch was high and, a downturn in the mining industry in Australia meant jobs were scare there, too.

"I think a lot of them are going to be forced to travel away to find work. I really don't know at this stage, there really isn't a lot other (options)," Mr Elliot said.

"There's always Christchurch but once again they're in a position where they're going to be forced to uplift their families and move them off.

"Obviously it's not cheap living over in Christchurch (and) accommodation is hard to find.

"So life's going to be pretty hard for those people."