Solid Energy to cut 90 more jobs

Struggling state-owned coal miner Solid Energy will announce yet another round of job cuts today, this time cutting as many as 90 positions at its Huntly East mine.

The New Zealand Herald understands staff will be advised of the job losses at a meeting with management at 11am.

Cutbacks at the mine are understood to be related to the loss of contracts to supply coal to NZ Steel. The steel-maker is not believed to be cutting back on production but is said to have been importing supplies.

The announcement comes a month after the company said it would cut 45 management and support jobs at its Stockton mining operation on the West Coast.

With the loss of a further 90 jobs at Huntly East, the total positions lost at the mine since the company hit financial difficulties last year would be brought to 153.

The company has cut more than 250 jobs at Stockton, and 225 at the underground Spring Creek mine on the West Coast.

In May, the company announced it was cutting 105 management and support jobs at its Christchurch headquarters and regional offices.

Solid Energy chairman Mark Ford three months ago said job numbers at the company were likely to be about 1000 by the middle of this year, a reduction of about one third since the company began to be squeezed between falling coal prices and debts approaching $400 million.

Negotiations between the company, the Government, Treasury officials and Solid Energy's banks have dragged on for months.

It was recently revealed the Government has set aside as much as $100 million in asset sales cash to help the company survive.

- Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald

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