BHP Billiton to cut 290 jobs at Mount Arthur coal mine in Australia

7 March 2016 (Last Updated March 7th, 2016 18:30)

BHP Billiton has announced plans to cut 290 jobs at its Mount Arthur coal mine in the Hunter Valley, Australia as part of its efforts to revive the profitability of the mine.

BHP Billiton has announced plans to cut 290 jobs at its Mount Arthur coal mine in the Hunter Valley, Australia as part of its efforts to revive the profitability of the mine.

The mine produces about 20 million tonnes of coal per year that would be sold abroad.

About 230 of the employees who are losing jobs at the mine are covered by employee agreements, while the remaining jobs are support roles.

BHP's latest decision follows an extended period of weak thermal coal prices and the release of its interim results recently, in which the NSW Energy Coal business reported an underlying EBIT loss of $9m for the six months to 31 December 2015.

"This decision was not taken lightly because we understand it will have a range of impacts on our workforce, their families and the local community."

Mount Arthur has also commenced consultation with employees and their representatives with regard to the implementation of the job cuts.

NSW Energy Coal Asset president James Palmer said: "Despite extensive work over the past two years to reset our production costs and safely improve the mine's productivity, Mt Arthur Coal must continue to significantly improve performance to be a globally competitive operation.

"This decision was not taken lightly because we understand it will have a range of impacts on our workforce, their families and the local community. However, the changes will put Mt Arthur Coal on a more sustainable footing for the future."

The company is also planning to axe about 500 jobs at its Drayton mine by the end of 2016, due to lack of approvals to develop the mine.