A RECENT restructure of the QMAG Magnesia Business Unit based in Rockhampton has left 16 employees at the Kunwarara mine site out of a job.
Sibelco chief executive Campbell Jones said the decision was made to ensure the company remained competitive in a challenging global market.
"Since acquiring the QMAG business from the previous owners in 2012, the Magnesia Business Unit has been focused on reducing operating costs, and improving volumes and sales to ensure long-term sustainability," he said.
"As such we've also had to change staffing numbers giving consideration to the needs of the operation and ensure its long-term viability."
Mr Jones said meetings had been held with the 16 sacked employees.
It is understood the employees were notified on September 11 and had their last day at work on September 26.
"The Sibelco QMAG business is now well positioned to compete on the international market and continue as a long-term employer in the Rockhampton region," he said.
"Wherever possible we will be seeking appropriate alternative employment within Sibelco."
However, Australian Workers' Union Rockhampton organiser Craig Sell disputed these claims.
He said he understood four casuals were appointed at the time the announcement was made, leading to permanent roles, and another position was advertised at Calliope.
"It just doesn't add up," he said.
"While they have been terminating these guys, they have been hiring new employees."
Mr Sell said the news was devastating for the workers.
"It's not the thousands going in the mining industry, but they're locals, not fly-in fly-out from another state," he said.
"They definitely could have handled it better. They were not forthcoming with information to substantiate their position that it was necessary." In July, The Morning Bulletin reported Mr Jones said workers should not have to fear more cuts this year.