Union not surprised at mine redundancies

By Natalie Akoorie

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Twenty redundancies from the Newmont Waihi Gold mine have not come as a surprise to union bosses.

The staff, including contractors, were told yesterday of the redundancies brought about by increasing industry costs and slow-to-rise gold prices.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union organiser Myles Leeson said the 350 staff at the mine site had been warned about potential job losses.

"We were aware that it was coming, for a while."

It's understood some of the positions affected include geotechnical contractors or non-production staff.

Newmont external affairs manager Sefton Darby said the cuts were rolled out yesterday but some staff would be offered positions within the company globally.

Newmont has mines around the world including in Australia and America, where 50 and 100 redundancies respectively have also been announced.

Others affected will have to come up with ideas about how their jobs can be done better or face a changed job description as part of the consultation which ends on October 2.

Mr Darby said as well as the job cuts there would be significant scaling back of Newmont Waihi Gold's exploration programme.

"We've got a number of prospecting and exploration permits in Northland and Coromandel. We will be relinquishing some of those permits and significantly reducing our work on others."

Within Waihi the company was awaiting decisions on two mooted expansion projects the Martha Exploration Project which is at the Environment Court and the Correnso Underground Mine, resource consent for which is to be heard in December by an independent commissioner for the Hauraki District Council.

"At the moment we've got enough gold in the ground to keep us going to 2015/16 and we need to have a new mine permitted and up and running by then in order to avoid closure and that's what Correnso is about."

Hauraki Mayor John Tregidga said the redundancies were disappointing but not "dramatic" given the scale of the Newmont operation and other job losses within the industry.

Miners from Spring Creek near Greymouth and at Huntly East, where a total 230 jobs were on the line, marched on Parliament yesterday to ask the Government to invest in owners Solid Energy to save their jobs.

Mr Tregidga said if the Correnso Underground Mine got consent he expected it would create jobs.

"I'm confident that depending on present resource consents, if they're approved there will be an increase in staff I'm sure."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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