Coalmine set to close, two made redundant

The Ohai coalmine will reportedly close by the end of the month.

September 30 is expected to be the final trading day for the Southland mine, which, along with New Vale coalmine in Waimumu, is owned by Greenbriar Ltd.

That in turn is owned by Dunedin company Palmer MH Ltd.

Ohai and New Vale coal general manager Antony Stodart told Stuff the decision had been made to cease mining operations.

“The decision comes after months of deliberation by the board, assessing the long-term financial viability of the business.”

The last trading day for the public to purchase coal direct from the mine will be September 30.

Two staff members had been made redundant, Mr Stodart told Stuff.

The remaining staff would either assist with the rehabilitation of the land or move on to support the company’s lignite mine at New Vale.

“The appropriate support has been provided to those staff. We understand it has an impact on the people.

‘‘Many opencast and underground mines have been operating on this site for many years and [it] is a big part of the community’s history,” he said.

Final decommissioning and mine rehabilitation will begin in October and is expected to take two to three years.

Southland Mayor Gary Tong said he had not heard anything official, but that the news was sad.

However, it was a commercial decision, he said.

Nobody at the mine could be reached for comment by the Otago Daily Times last night.

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