JOB CUTS: Peabody’s North Goonyella Mine.
JOB CUTS: Peabody’s North Goonyella Mine.

Mass job cuts at Bowen Basin mine

PEABODY has announced it will significantly reduce its workforce at North Goonyella mine within the next few months.

Peabody said it expected it could take three years or more to restart production at North Goonyella following last year's devastating underground fire at the mine.

The Daily Mercury understands mine workers received phone calls last night from the company advising they had lost their jobs.

Workers were also told not to speak to the media or post information on social media about job losses.

Smoke billows from the mine at North Goonyella
Smoke billows from the mine at North Goonyella from a fire that started in September last year. Contributed

In a statement, the coal company said after a three-month review process, it had decided it would not attempt to access the mine beyond zone B due to the time, cost and regulatory approach required to ventilate and re-enter the rest of the mine.

Instead, Peabody will seek pre-approval from the Queensland Mines Inspectorate to ventilate Zone B from the surface using large bore holes drilled above ground.

If this approach is approved and successful, the company plans to re-enter Zone B and assess conditions with a target of developing the southern panels that contain about 20 million tonnes of high-quality hard coking coal.

"The above approach allows us to maximise the value of the high-quality coal at North Goonyella while reducing significant, ongoing costs which have mounted since the incident last year," Peabody said.


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"Based on this approach, Peabody expects it could take three years or more to resume meaningful production at North Goonyella."

Peabody's Australian Operations president Marc Hathhorn said the company had made the "very difficult decision" to reduce its site employees significantly over the next couple of months.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our North Goonyella team and their families for their hard work, dedication and loyalty over the past year in helping us try to get this great mine back into production," Mr Hathhorn said.

"We will try to redeploy as many of our people as possible to our other Australian mines and we commit to working closely with unions, industry groups and other mining companies to find jobs for our team in what is, thankfully, a healthy jobs market for mine workers."

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