700 jobs from BMA, Bandanna Energy in administration
THERE are dark days ahead for Bowen Basin mine workers, with devastating news hitting the industry left, right and centre.
BOWEN Basin coal mines were "giving it their best shot" to restructure costs and productivity drivers to avoid closure, according to the Queensland Resources Council.
Chief executive Michael Roche said BMA's bombshell 700-worker cull from seven of its eight Central Queensland mines was the latest hit, but it might not be the last. "What I find is that I'm getting a call every week or second week from a coal company with news about further job losses," Mr Roche said. "Interestingly, when I ask them are there any implications for production, with one or two exceptions, the answer has been no. "So this is really about coal companies resetting their cost structures for the new reality of low coal prices and higher exchange rates, with the companies maintaining or increasing production. "I guess the end result in textbook terms is higher productivity, which is probably what our industry needs to remain viable for the long haul." Mr Roche said he empathised with Central Highlands communities struggling to come to terms with the rolling blows of mine job losses. He blamed it on the global oversupply of coking coal and poor prices. "We have had some significant reductions at individual mines from companies as recently as Kestrel and Clermont mines," he said. "BMA's general managers have been talking to their workforces and will over the next few days, but clearly this is bad news for the communities of the Central Highlands, just as it is around places like Moranbah and Dysart."
BMA yesterday announced 700 jobs to be cut from the company's Central Queensland mines, with 230 expected to be lost from the Blackwater operation.
Crinum mine, north of Emerald, has escaped the axe.
Bandanna Energy is in voluntary administration, putting the $750 million Springsure Creek Project in jeopardy and Kestrel job losses could be known as soon as tomorrow.
Glencore is expected to start announcing the 100 Clermont Mine job cuts next week.
BMA asset president Lucas Dow said sites would finalise job cuts in the coming days and weeks.
"WE ARE certainly wanting to provide as much certainty as we can as quickly as we can so people can get on and make necessary decisions," Mr Dow said.
He confirmed Emerald's Gregory Crinum Mine would not be affected by any job cuts.
"The consultation process kicked off this morning (Tuesday), with briefings ongoing today," Mr Dow said.
"This was a really tough decision and a really tough time for everyone involved."
Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire said the string of bad news was "obviously very, very disappointing".
"Clearly for us, Blackwater is going to be the big one," Cr Maguire said.
"That's the point, it's people's lives, but everyone is struggling with this.
"Yesterday's announcement, this today (Thursday), you keep wondering if it is going to come to an end."
Mining and Energy union CFMEU general secretary Andrew Vickers said the union understood that 562 of the 700 BMA job losses would come from production jobs.
Bandanna chairman John Pegler said the company's announcement of voluntary administration was the result of delays in approvals and the mining downturn.
"Unfortunately progress has been impacted by delayed approval of the Springsure Creek mining lease and the deepening cyclical decline in thermal coal prices," Mr Pegler said.
"Which together have further exacerbated delays in investor interest and participation."
The administrators will look into the business and it is expected in the next four to six weeks announcements will be made about the viability of the business, the project, and a possible sale.
Kate and Eugene Sullivan's property, Springton, lies within the mining lease for the company's proposed Springsure Creek Project, which promised to employ more than 500 permanent workers and more than 300 during the construction phase.
Kate said with the company in administration, landholders were not sure what to expect.
"Clearly the process is not finished, it is just one more thing that landholders have to try to take in and digest," she said.
The underground mine was expected to have a production capacity of 5.5 million tonnes per annum with an estimated initial capital cost of $743m.
Concerns had been raised by landholders in the past few years regarding subsidence and the impact a longwall mine would have on cropping land in the region.
GOLDEN Triangle landholders are wondering what will come next for them after Bandanna Energy announced it had they have been placed in voluntary administration. Kate and husband Eugene Sullivan, of Springton, are directly affected by the proposed Springsure Creek Project. Mrs Sullivan said landholders were still unsure what the announcement meant for them. "All along the process we've had sort of ups and downs with information coming along," she said. "It looks good, it sounds exciting for the landholders, but we aren't really sure." Cotton Australia regional manager Renee Anderson, who has worked closely with affected landholders, said the announcement was "potentially good news for growers". "If and when the project is taken up by a new company, we expect that the whole project should be subject to the Regional Planning Interest Act, providing this high-value agricultural land with the protection it deserves," she said. Kate said she was not surprised the company was having financial difficulties in the current climate. "By the by, it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone involved," she said. "There's still three of us (landholders) in the land court, so we don't really know what it means yet."
BMA CQ mines