BHP Billiton cuts 290 jobs from coal mine in New South Wales

BHP Billiton has axed almost 300 jobs from its Mount Arthur coal mine in the New South Wales Hunter Valley.

The mining giant has advised its Mount Arthur employees that a series of workforce changes will be implemented in the coming weeks to secure the economic sustainability of the thermal coal operation.

It comes after the company released its interim results, revealing a significant loss for the six months to the end of December 2015.

In the past 18 months, global prices for thermal coal have declined by around 27 per cent.

As part of the changes, there will be a reduction of around 290 jobs at the Muswellbrook site.

Affected employees are being provided with support services, and Mount Arthur Coal has commenced consultation with workers.

Decision not taken lightly', coal asset president says

BHP Billiton's NSW Energy Coal asset president James Palmer said the changes were essential in enabling Mount Arthur Coal to be commercially viable.

"Despite extensive work over the past two years to reset our production costs and safely improve the mine's productivity, Mount Arthur Coal must continue to significantly improve performance to be a globally competitive operation," he said.

"This decision was not taken lightly because we understand it will have a range of impacts on our workforce, their families and the local community.

"However, the changes will put Mount Arthur Coal on a more sustainable footing for the future," he said.

"It is a tough time for the coal industry but, here at Mount Arthur Coal, we've got a tier one resource — we believe this will leave Mount Arthur Coal on a much stronger footing.

"As we implement the changes announced today, we will continue to work closely with employees and the local community to manage the impacts of the decision and provide regular updates about the consultation process."

Mr Palmer said the changes were essential in enabling Mount Arthur Coal to provide ongoing employment opportunities in the Hunter Valley.

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