Gujarat forces out another 10 miners

Ten Gujarat NRE workers will lose their jobs through forced redundancies, the troubled Illawarra mining company announced on Thursday.

The announcement follows the loss of 47 positions through a voluntary redundancy scheme last month, after which the company said it still needed to lose 13 workers.

Gujarat’s chairman Jasbir Singh acknowledged the decision to forcefully sack 10 workers would create difficulties for those affected, but said the measure was required to make the company sustainable.

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Mr Singh said he had directed ‘‘considerable effort’’ into the long-term survival and financial security of the Illawarra mines since his employer Jindal Steel took over the company in October.

‘‘From initial talks with contractors we are hopeful that all affected employees will be able to find alternate employment,’’ he said.

‘‘Should permanent positions with the compnay become available into the future these workers will be given special consideration.

Meantime, Gujarat shares have been suspended from trading on the Australian Securities Exchange while the company resolves its latest effort to raise funds from shareholders.

Last week the company announced plans to allow shareholders to buy two shares for every 11 they already hold at eight cents a share, with the hope of raising a total of $40 million.

Under the offer, Jindal Steel was given the chance to buy more than 330 million extra shares ahead of other shareholders, which has injected an extra $26.5 million into the mines.

Jindal Steel previously invested $58 million through a similar offer.

Remaining shareholders have until February 26 to take up their entitlements, after which the company’s stocks are expected to resume trading.

If the full $40 million is raised, nearly $35 million will cover ongoing costs of operating the mines, while $6 million will be used to pay off interest.

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