Wollongong Coal looks to cut costs; jobs on the line

Wollongong Coal chief operating officer David Stone.

Wollongong Coal chief operating officer David Stone.

More jobs could be on the line after Wollongong Coal announced on Tuesday it was looking at a ‘‘range of opportunites’’ to cut costs at its Wongawilli and Russell Vale mines.

Wollongong Coal chairman Jasbir Singh said the company was considering making ‘‘tough decisions’’ as part of its organisational and operational review.

“Most of Australia’s coal companies are hurting as the international price of coking coal continues to fall,” he said. 

Wollongong Coal chief operating officer David Stone said the review could include ‘‘cutting manning levels’’, and was expected to be completed by early June.

He said the company was in talks with the employees and their union representatives to fully explore all avenues to curtail costs. 

“While the declining price of coking coal has forced us to ensure we reduce costs, this has become vital while we await state government approvals for the continuation of longwall mining at Russell Vale to fully utilise our existing lease,” he said. 

“Additionally at our Wongawilli mine we need to restructure our operations that are currently being carried out in the older part of the mine to a more sustainable level. 

“This work continues as we plan for our future development of Wongawilli South, which is expected to produce up to 2 million tonnes per annum by 2018.” Mr Stone said the team was working on a transparent review process, which involved keeping employees, industry unions, government departments and all stakeholders fully informed. 

In early 2014, more than 50 employees left Wollongong Coal through voluntary and forced redundancies.

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