Redundancies at Oceana Gold - whether from a sweeping
company review or separate collective contract negotiations -
Oceana Gold has been hard hit by spiralling production costs
in New Zealand and softening global gold prices.
Oceana is closing in on a new pay deal with staff at its
Macraes site in East Otago, following a month's bargaining
over five expired collective contracts.
Under Oceana's operational review, its Dunedin office is also
under restructuring scrutiny and the use of contractors at
mine sites, or supplying sites, has already been cut back.
About $US100 million ($NZ125 million) in operational savings
has been made so far from the review.
It proposes to mothball its Reefton mine, on the West Coast,
by 2015, leaving 260 jobs in jeopardy, and to scale back
exploration and defer earthmoving work at both Reefton and
The 23-year-old Macraes open pit and Frasers underground
mine, which have yielded more than 3.7 million ounces of
gold, employ 600-700 staff and are estimated to contribute up
to $100 million to Otago's economy annually.
Oceana Gold and the Amalgamated Workers Union (AWU) started
collective agreement negotiations four weeks ago. Neither
party has released updates.
AWU spokesman Calvin Fisher said, when contacted yesterday,
he was ''optimistic of a settlement'' and that ''offers on
the table'' from Oceana would be presented to staff for
consideration next week.
''We could be in a position to seek ratification [of the
offers] the following week,'' Mr Fisher said.
As negotiations were still under way, he declined to give any
indication of Oceana's offer to staff, possible changes to
conditions or whether jobs were at stake.
Mr Fisher said the negotiations covered pit and underground
staff, plant operators and maintenance, as well as
Oceana has held recent meetings with office staff. One source
has said up to 10 Dunedin office jobs may go, but new roles
will be created at Macraes and Reefton, and at Oceana's
Melbourne head office. Another source understood up to 15 of
the 60 office jobs face restructuring.
Oceana's head of business development Darren Klinck,
contacted in Melbourne yesterday, gave few details about the
Dunedin office jobs and whether they were being redistributed
''A proposal to staff in Dunedin has been submitted
discussing a possible restructuring of some roles to improve
efficiency at the mine sites,'' he said.
Oceana's company-wide review of its business units was
''ongoing'', no decisions had been made and the
''initiatives'' would continue to be discussed with staff
''over the coming weeks'', Mr Klinck said.
While the review has left staff unsettled, Oceana's gold and
copper operations in the Philippines are gathering impetus
and contributing consistently to its bottom line.
Earlier this month, Oceana lodged resource consent
applications in Otago for a proposed Coronation pit, near
Macraes, which could extend mine life a year, to 2021.