10am: ONE of Australia's largest coal miners has given Central Queensland town Blackwater one of its biggest blows.
The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union today confirmed 231 permanent "EA employees" at the Blackwater mine site could be losing their jobs.
CFMEU Blackwater district vice president Chris Brodsky said the union was meeting with the mining giant at Moranbah tomorrow to try to minimise the number of employees losing their jobs.
More information to come.
6am: THEY knew more job cuts were coming, they just didn't know when.
Speaking from the heart of the Central Queensland mining sector, Blackwater barmaid Maddison Hatton yesterday said the announcement BHP BMA would slash 700 jobs at seven Bowen Basin mine sites hadn't come as a shock.
"Being a mining town, you get the booms and you get the lows," she said.
"That's just part of living here. We knew it was coming."
However, Maddison said the loss of workers would impact on local business.
"You see a bit of a change in the pace," she said.
"It slows all the business down. It's a bit of a morale thing too."
A BMA spokeswoman could not confirm how many jobs would be lost at each mine site.
She said the company had only just begun negotiations with its employees and contractors about the job losses, with the process expected to take some weeks.
However, moments after Maddison spoke with the Morning Bulletin, the first Blackwater miner received the marching orders, according to a source close to the work force.
"It's a very, very tough day for the company, employees, their families and our communities," said BMA Asset President Lucas Dow as he announced the decision in Mackay yesterday.
"It is one that was not arrived at lightly. It is to ensure economic viability, and we remain committed to the Bowen Basin.
"The current (coal) prices provide significant challenges to the industry sector and BMA is not immune to that."
Mr Dow said in the past couple of years the company had been working diligently to improve productivity and reduce costs.
"Despite those significant efforts it was not enough and we have had to do more to remain commercially and economically viable and to create a sustainable future," he said.
An operational review of all its open cut operations identified the workforce as having more than enough staff to safely operate the business and keep it moving forward.
However, CFMEU Mining and Energy general secretary Andrew Vickers said the announcement was a 'ruthless and unnecessary attack' on jobs.
"BHP is spearheading the drive by the multinational coal producers to increase production at lower prices - they are driving the oversupply we are seeing on global markets," he said.
"BHP must be held to account for the fallout from this damaging corporate strategy and 'review' of operations." Mr Vickers said the union understands 562 of the 700 targeted jobs are in production.
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