Waihi mine workers facing job cuts

By Ben Chapman-Smith

The entrance of the Newmont Waihi Gold company's underground Favona Mine at Waihi. Photo / Richard RobinsonDELVING
The entrance of the Newmont Waihi Gold company's underground Favona Mine at Waihi. Photo / Richard RobinsonDELVING

A global gold miner has announced today that it expects to cut about 20 jobs at its Waihi site, as rising costs in the industry take their toll.

Newmont Waihi Gold said in a statement that it was beginning consultation with staff and contractors about the likely loss of "a small number of redundancies".

The company said it expected about 20 staff and contractors would be affected by the cuts, though it could not confirm numbers until the consultation process was completed on October 2.

"The decision to reduce our workforce is not one that we take lightly and we will be working closely with all staff to help them through this difficult period," said general manager of operations Glen Grindlay.

"But the reality is that over the past five years our operational costs such as materials and labour have risen far faster than gold prices."

Those prices rises have had "a significant impact on the company" globally and in Waihi, Grindlay said.

The price of gold price had risen 142 per cent over the past five years, to US$1,763.95 per ounce.

"We need to start reducing our costs now in order to keep the mine viable," Grindlay said.

The company said it would, where possible, be seeking to offer changes of jobs rather than redundancies.

Some staff were already being offered jobs at other Newmont sites globally.

In addition to job cuts, it expected to significantly scale back its exploration programme.

The cuts were part of a wider package of job cuts across all Newmont sites globally.

Staff at Newmont's four mines and regional headquarters in Australia had also been notified this week of likely redundancies.

Meanwhile, Solid Energy miners were marching on Parliament in Wellington this afternoon after the state-owned coal miner announced plans to trim its workforce by a quarter, in the face of slumping coal prices.

The miners would be appealing today for government assistance.

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