Blackwater miners among the first to go in BMA sackings

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance to cut 700 jobs from Central Queensland operations
BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance to cut 700 jobs from Central Queensland operations

3.40pm: BMA sackings began at its Blackwater mine this afternoon with some workers given the bad news a short time ago.

A source with a link to one of the miners informed the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin about the development.

The number of Blackwater workers affected is not known at this time.


2.23pm: BHP Billiton's plan to sack 700 workers is both "ruthless and unnecessary" according to the state's most powerful mining union.

APN understands the 700 roles will be sliced from Blackwater, Goonyella Riverside, Peak Downs, Saraji, Broadmeadow, Caval Ridge and Daunia.

Both Caval Ridge and Daunia are the company's two newest mines in Central Queensland.

BMA's Crinum mine is not expected to be hit by the cuts.

CFMEU general secretary Andrew Vickers. Photo Contributed
CFMEU general secretary Andrew Vickers. Photo Contributed Contributed

CFMEU Mining and Energy general secretary Andrew Vickers said BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance was leading the charge to export more coal at lower prices, leading to oversupply.

He said at a time when the Australian dollar has fallen, BHP's finances would "immensely benefit", so they should not be moving so quickly towards cutting workers.

"700 job cuts will devastate Central Queensland. We will not tolerate BHP cutting permanent jobs in favour of precarious arrangements like labour hire and contracting," he said

The union expected 562 of the 700 targeted jobs are in production and is seeking information about the number of permanent jobs targeted.

"BHP is demonstrating a horrifying disregard for jobs and for the future of Central Queensland with today's announcement," Mr Vickers.

"BHP has profited enormously from Central Queensland resources over many years, but today they are showing their true colours as a ruthless multinational corporation."

Isaac mayor: BMA cuts show it's time to dump 100% FIFO


Isaac Regional Mayor Anne Baker
Isaac Regional Mayor Anne Baker Contributed

WITH the bulk of 700 job cuts announced by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance coming from her electorate, Isaac Regional Mayor Anne Baker said it was time for Premier Campbell Newman to review 100% fly-in, fly-out provisions.

About 900 workers at two mines in the region at the centre of these cuts, are flown in from Cairns and Brisbane, after BMA opted to recruit entirely from outside the local area.

It was supported by the former Labor Government and again by Premier Newman.

Cr Baker said with so many of these job losses "directly impacting" her community, it was time to give 100% FIFO a rethink.

"This clearly shows the urgent need to reassess 100% forced FIFO work practices on our doorstep," she said.

"We are calling on the Premier to review the current conditioning of Caval Ridge and Daunia in relation to 100% forced FIFO."

"This is the biggest hit to us this year, it's heart wrenching to see so many community members directly affected," Mayor Baker said.  

"It will touch every aspect of our communities and the economic impact will be felt far and wide across the region." 

  This is devastating news for workers, their families, friends, schools, and local businesses.   

"It's more important than ever that people across regional Queensland have opportunities to contend for jobs in mines in our region."   


A Queensland Government spokeswoman said the 100% FIFO arrangements were approved by the former government "during the height of the mining boom".

She said while future plans would be decided by the independent Coordinator-General, the government did not expect future mines to use this type of arrangement in Queensland.

There was no response on whether the Premier would revisit current arrangements.


BMA boss: 'It's a tough day for the company'

THE head of BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance has told of today being "a very, very tough day" for the multinational giant after he announced 700 Central Queensland jobs would go.

BMA Asset President Lucas Dow
BMA Asset President Lucas Dow Kelly Butterworth

Fronting a press conference in Mackay this afternoon, BMA asset president Lucas Dow did not name the mines that would be wielding the axe, although it is expected to affect seven operations.

"It's a very, very tough day for the company, families and our communities," Mr Dow said.

"It is one that was not arrived at lightly. It is to ensure economic viability.

"The current (coal) prices provide significant challenges to the industry sector and BMA is not immune to that.

"So in the past couple of years we have worked diligently to improve our productivity and our costs."

There are seven Central Queensland coal mines under the BMA umbrella including Goonyella Riverside, Broadmeadow, Daunia, Peak Downs, Saraji, Crinum and Blackwater.

BMA also owns the Hay Point Coal Terminal south of Mackay.

Sister company BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal owns the Poitrel mine near Moranbah and the South Walker Creek project near Nebo, west of Mackay.

In total, BMA employs about 10,000 people at its operations.


Newman: My heart goes out to 700 BMA workers and families

PREMIER Campbell Newman has told of his sadness to hear that hundreds of workers at Central Queensland coal mines owned by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance have been thrown into chaos.

The multinational has announced it will cut 700 jobs, with workers to be consulted within weeks.

Premier Newman told the ABC he was concerned not just for the workers, but their communities.

"I am very sad for the men and women who are losing their jobs and my heart goes out to them and their families," he told the ABC.

"I call on BMA to ensure every assistance is given to these workers and their families."

Early reports suggest the jobs will be lost primarily from four mines surrounding Moranbah, plus a mine in Blackwater and Dysart. This has yet to be confirmed.


BMA to slash 700 jobs in Central Queensland

QUEENSLAND's biggest coal miner -- BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance -- is slashing 700 Central Queensland jobs.

In a statement, BMA said it would start consulting with workers "in coming weeks"

BMA Asset President Lucas Dow said the coal industry continued to face challenging market conditions and had to act to ensure the long-term viability of the business.

He said he understood the workforce reductions would cause uncertainty for employees, their families and local communities and the decision was not taken lightly.

The decision follows a major review of operations and staff numbers by the company.

Member for Dawson George Christensen took to Twitter to describe the job losses as "devastating" for central and north Queensland:

According to BMA, that review found it had more workers than it needed to "safely and efficiently operate the business".

Mr Dow said the industry was undergoing a difficult transition and to be globally competitive, the cost base of the operations had to be reset to improve cost efficiency and longer term performance of operations.

"With our ongoing focus on improving the productivity and global competitiveness of our business, we continue to assess the most effective way of safely operating our assets both now and into the future," he said.

"BMA is the largest private employer in the Bowen Basin, with over 10,000 employees and contractors working across our operations."

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