In yet another blow to the Greymouth economy, Stillwater Lumber has laid off 12 staff as it readjusts to the economic recession.
Only last week the Spring Creek mine was mothballed, with the loss of about 220 jobs.
Stillwater Lumber is an offshoot of Canterbury company Southern Pine Products, and general manager Mike Taylor said today all the affected West Coast staff had been offered positions at its Christchurch mill. One had accepted already and several others were contemplating the move to the city.
Stillwater would be re-hiring as soon as the economy turned the corner, he said.
For now, the New Zealand building market remained in a state of depression, despite the anticipated Christchurch rebuild, and the Australian market was flat. This, coupled with the high value of the New Zealand dollar, had made it difficult to make an acceptable return in export markets.
"As a result of the economic conditions, Stillwater Lumber has been forced to look at various options to restructure and rationalise its operations," Mr Taylor said.
Currently the Stillwater mill runs a manual cut line and an automated scanning line. It will phase out the manual line but will add another scanner when the market picks up.
"I have no doubt that the market will pick up, but it's taken a lot longer than we expected and we just can't hang around waiting for the Christchurch rebuild to kick in," he said
"We understand that this is a stressful time for our employees but we need to take these steps to better position Stillwater Lumber to combat the challenging times ahead in expectation of more favourable conditions in the medium term future."
- The Greymouth StarBy Tui Bromley of the Greymouth Star