Contractors at mining giant Xstrata's Tahmoor Colliery won't be spared as the impact of low coal prices and other economic challenges begin to bite in the Illawarra.
Xstrata confirmed last week that it would slice 600 employee and contractor positions from its Australian coal business as it battles industry-wide pressures including low prices, high costs and the strong Australian dollar.
The company said it would not publicly disclose numbers by site, but the Mercury understands about 85 positions could be on the line at Tahmoor Colliery in the coming months.
A Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union mining and energy division spokesman said they would include upwards of 50 contractor positions, as many as 21 fitters and electricians, plus a handful of mine deputies and staff positions.
"It's unfortunate but our industry follows international trends in resources, so . . . we're coming off the back of a huge, unsustainable resources boom and we're just seeing some settling in that at the moment," he said.
Xstrata did not confirm the numbers last week.
However, general manager of Xstrata Coal's Tahmoor operations Steve Hubert confirmed consultation had started with employees over the proposed restructure.
"We are doing everything possible to minimise the impacts and as part of this, where vacancies exist, we intend to offer affected employees relocation opportunities at other Xstrata mines," he said.
"In addition to consulting with our employees and their representatives, we have notified the contracting firms of the changes we are making. However, we are not publicly disclosing numbers by individual site at this time."
Xstrata employs about 450 people at Tahmoor.
Mr Hubert said there would also be volume reductions at the mine, as the company addressed the high cost of production.
"Both coking and thermal coal prices have declined significantly in recent months and this has negatively affected our earnings in the second half of this year," he said.
"The decision to restructure parts of our business in Australia - including here at Tahmoor - has been difficult, but is important to ensure we retain a competitive cost position in the current market environment."
Contractor WDS declined to comment.
Xstrata announced the 600 job losses last month.