Fifty-one workers at the Oceana Gold Globe Progress Mine were laid off this morning.
The job losses, which have been signalled for more than a month, come as the company heads towards putting the Reefton mine into 'care and maintenance' next year.
One employee said the workers were called to a meeting at the Tai Poutini Polytechnic Reefton campus this morning, when they were handed a letter and immediately stopped work.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union West Coast organiser Garth Elliott confirmed the job losses.
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He also said more redundancies were to come.
Asked if many of the 51 had new jobs to go to, he said "there's not a lot on the West Coast at the moment".
The redundancies reduce the 240-strong Reefton mine workforce by about 25 per cent.
Poor international gold prices have eroded the mine's profitability.
Oceana Gold could not be reached for comment this morning.