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Coal mine suspends production and invites volunteers for redundancy

Yancoal Australia
Yancoal Australia

An Asian owned resources company plans to stop operations and retrench more than two thirds of its workforce.

China-headquartered Yancoal Australia will suspend production at its Austar Coal Mine in Paxton, 60km west of Newcastle.

The proponent confirmed its decision to put operations on “care and maintenance” from March 31 means it will need to transfer or sack 93 surplus workers to cut costs.

“The Austar mine will suspend production and transition to care and maintenance operations after 31 March 2020,” a spokesperson said in a public statement. “Our people are at the centre of everything we do, and as production ceases at Austar we are committed to providing support and further career opportunities where possible for the 137 employees onsite.”

Third of workers remain

Yancoal revealed just 44 workers would be retained at the mine because work within the mining area was nearing completion.

“We continue to evaluate mining opportunities to recommence production at Austar in the future,” the spokesperson said.

The mine site has operated for about 104 years under a variety of names including Pelton, Ellalong and most recently Southland. Yancoal acquired the operation back in the year 2004.

History of closure

The mine has closed multiple times throughout the decades and the latest reopening was in 2018 when the New South Wales Resources Regulator lifted a ban that had been in place since multiple coal burst accidents earlier that same year, according to the Newcastle Herald.

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