Solid Energy this afternoon confirmed it would cut more than
400 jobs, mothball the Spring Creek mine on the West Coast
and reduce operations of the Huntly East mine.
Greymouth will be particularly hard hit as Solid Energy plans
to reduce staff numbers from about 254 at Spring Creek to
After two months of underground work to prepare the mine for
"care and maintenance", staff numbers would again be reduced
The company also plans to cut 63 jobs at Huntly East Mine in
It also announced it proposes to cut corporate, support
services, and development jobs by 50 per cent.
"We appreciate that this ongoing uncertainty is very
difficult for people but the management team has to give
staff the opportunity to comment on the further changes that
we are now proposing,'' Solid Energy chairman Mark Ford said
in an announcement in Christchurch today.
Mr Ford said chief executive officer Dr Don Elder told Spring
Creek staff that it had completed its review of the mine's
viability and concluded that it could not afford the "ongoing
costs of the operation''.
The company will now begin a period of consultation with
Spring Creek Mine staff who will remain on full pay at this
All underground work at the mine, except essential safety and
maintenance work, will remain suspended.
The decision would also affect the jobs of up to another 130
people, employed by contractors, many of whom had been on the
site as part of the development project.
If all the proposals are confirmed, total jobs will be cut by
25 per cent to about 1360 - down from 1800 at the start of
"We absolutely understand the potential impact of this
proposal on the local community and the wider district,'' Mr
"We all do all we can to identify future employment
opportunities for affected staff and we have already had some
very promising discussions which we hope to confirm in the
In total, it's proposed that 429 jobs will go.
Mr Ford said: "As I've said many times, this is a very sombre
day for this company.''
He said competitors were making "drastic action'' and so must
At Spring Creek, for example, coal was worth $120 per tonne,
and they needed $200 per tonne to break even.
Spring Creek was a very high cost, low quality mine, Mr Ford
It has a history of underperforming, having lost $100 million
Mr Ford said the cost of production at Huntly East was
"substantially more'' than the current international price
for similar coals that major customers can import.
The Christchurch rebuild meant there should be no loss of
skills or employment opportunities for the South Island
following today's announcement, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker
"Today will be highly stressful and our thoughts are with the
miners and their families.
"However, opportunities here in Christchurch can keep
families together and enable workers to continue contributing
to their communities therefore my message is that you do not
have to leave New Zealand for work.
"This city right now needs engineers, builders, plumbers,
painters, construction workers and administration staff.''