More coal jobs go as prices tumble

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By Leith van Onselen

Following on from Tuesday’s announcement by Peabody Resources that it would cut 450 jobs from its New South Wales and Queensland coal mining operations, engineering and mining services company, Downer EDI, has announced that it will axe 185 jobs from its workforce at the Goonyella Riverside coking coal mine in central Queensland.

The cuts represent more than a quarter of Downer’s 680 strong workforce at the mine, where they carry out “pre-strip” operations, using heavy machinery to remove soil above the coal.

According to Anglo American’s Mark Cutifani, around 9,000 mining jobs have already been lost in New South Wales and Queensland, with Cutifani yesterday warning of a rapid increase in those numbers.

The job losses also come as JP Morgan yesterday trimmed down its international coal price forecasts, which is placing pressure on miner margins, forcing them to slash costs and pare back planned mining investments:

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Around 15% of Australia’s thermal coal is extracted at a loss when prices fall below $90 a tonne, according to CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, suggesting Australian thermal coal will remain under intense pressure.

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Leith van Onselen