Solid Energy

I feel so sorry for people on the West Coast. First they lose Pike River in the worst possible way, and then they lose Spring Creek. The Press reported:

Christchurch and the West Coast have both been dealt major job hits after Solid Energy’s announcement to slash about 440 positions nationwide.

It was a black Monday on the West Coast in particular after the state-owned company said it would mothball Spring Creek Mine and slash 360 jobs.

Solid Energy also announced proposals to cut more than half the jobs at its corporate, support and development divisions. Staff numbers would plummet from 313 to 150, it said, with most of those affected working at the Christchurch head office in Addington.

Those in Chch are not so bad off:

However, city leaders say opportunities in Christchurch’s rebuild could soften the blow for the white-collar workers in Christchurch and blue-collar workers on the coast.

Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said Christchurch was poised to move into the most extraordinary period of reconstruction and he hoped many skilled people at Solid Energy would find jobs there.

“I really believe the opportunities are just beginning to grow,” Townsend said.

Mayor Bob Parker said while it would be stressful for staff losing jobs, he was aware of several organisations looking for skilled people in the services sector .

“I think there will be opportunities here, even if in the short term for some people they are not the ideal opportunities.”

He also said the city needed “engineers, builders, plumbers, painters, construction workers and administration staff”.

About 31,000 people live on the West Coast, meaning one in 86 people was affected by yesterday’s announcement.

The reality is the global price of coal has plummeted, and nothing can protect a company from that, except some hedging in the short term. The price per tonne has been as low as $120 and Solid Energy needs $200 just to break even. The price has dropped 30% or so in just two months. Companies around the world are laying off staff also.

Steven Joyce has said:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is calling on objectors to Bathurst Resources’ Escarpment Mine project near Westport to support 225 new jobs on the West Coast by withdrawing their court action.

“The Escarpment Mine is an open cast mining project that is ready to go and would provide 225 jobs and incomes for workers and their families on the West Coast straight away,” Mr Joyce says.

“The developer is being held up from opening the Escarpment Mine by on-going litigation that has gone through the Environment Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

“These on-going objections are to resource consents which were granted more than a year ago. The whole consenting process for this development has now taken a staggering seven years.

“I call on those objectors to the mine to reconsider their appeals and consider the economic future of the West Coast and its people.

“I also call on the EPMU, Labour and the Greens to join my call and back the West Coast community by supporting the immediate development of the Escarpment Mine.

“The political opposition can’t have it both ways. They can’t on one hand moan about job losses and then on the other not support initiatives that would create the sort of jobs that they’re asking for.

I think there is an unnecessary comma in the second to last paragraph!

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