Australian mining industry faces large-scale job cuts

28 May 2014 (Last Updated May 28th, 2014 18:30)

The Australian mining industry is currently facing a series of job cuts driven by the fading mining boom, a slowing demand from China, weak prices of coal and extensive use of shale gas.

The Australian mining industry is currently facing a series of job cuts driven by the fading mining boom, a slowing demand from China, weak prices of coal and extensive use of shale gas.

Coal miner New Hope is the latest to announce redundancies, as the company plans to lose 30 positions at its West Moreton mine in Queensland State, and at its corporate office.

A New Hope spokeswoman said that about 5% of the 600-person workforce will be cut.

Similarly, Glencore XStrata and BHP Billiton have already downsized some operations. Glencore announced in March that it would close its Ravensworth underground operation this year and BHP closed its Norwich Park and Gregory mines in eastern Australia.

"With the state of the current coal climate, taking a redundancy and trying to find another job in this climate would be difficult." 

Meanwhile, Australian mining firm Wollongong Coal has made a proposal that its staff work for $21 an hour. The proposal, which was rejected by workers, could result in 120 job losses leaving only 15 workers to operate the mine.

In addition to reducing workers' wages by 25% to 30%, the Wollongong mine has also slashed weekend penalty rates and other conditions.

The decision came when the company's longwall mining machine was accidentally buried at the site and could not be recovered, impacting production.

Wollongong Coal chief operating officer David Stone said: "With the state of the current coal climate, taking a redundancy and trying to find another job in this climate would be difficult."

The fading mining boom has not only affected the mining industry but also industries that indirectly depend on the sector, such as freight and transport.

Freight and transport service to mining sector, Toll Holdings, said that it will cut around 100 jobs as part of a divisional restructure.