Rio cuts 50 contractor jobs at Qld coal mine

Rio coal division communications and media manager Alison Smith told CIN’s sister publication International Longwall News the company has been spending this week advising the workforce of the changes.She said the global decline in the steel industry meant there were fewer shipments for Kestrel to meet so now the mine would no longer operate seven days a week.By altering the roster, Smith said the permanent employees would now be shifted across to accommodate a five-day operation as 50 contractor roles are cut. The mine produced some 1 million tonnes of premium hard coking coal in last year’s third quarter. Last month, Rio coal division acting communications and media manager Nathan Scholz told ILN the $US991 million expansion of Kestrel was under review. Rio had previously announced it would cut over 14,000 jobs and reduce net debt by $US10 billion by the end of 2009.Japan’s second largest steelmaker, JFE, said this week it expected coking coal prices to fall back at least to 2007 levels, which would be around $US98/t – far below unprecedented sales of $US300/t achieved during the peaks of 2008.

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