Glencore cuts another 100 jobs at Newlands coal operations

Commodities giant Glencore has slashed a further 100 jobs from its Newlands coal operations in Australia, the company said on Tuesday August 12.

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The decision was taken as a result of “ongoing difficult market conditions”, it said.

“Newlands’ annual coal production for 2014 will be reduced as a result of this,” Glencore said, but did not give details about how it was expected to fall.

The job losses comprise the second round of cuts Glencore has imposed in the past two years on its Newlands operations, which produces both coking coal and thermal coal.

Last June, the trading and mining major reduced the extent of its open-cut operations at Newlands from three mining areas to one, affecting around 300 employees.

The Newlands mining complex will continue to support a workforce of more than 650 employees after the latest round of cuts, Glencore said.

It continued to review all its coal operations in an “increasingly difficult economic climate”, it added.

Coking coal prices have slumped over the past year to levels at which many producers are struggling to survive.

Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index fell from more than $130 per tonne fob Australia’s DBCT port at the beginning of 2014, to lows close to $95 per tonne in the second week of August.

The low pricing climate has seen a number of producers choose to close coal mines or sell coal assets in the past six months.

Rio Tinto agreed the sale of its Mozambique coal operations to Indian consortium International Coal Ventures Ltd (ICVL) at the end of last month for $50 million, a fraction of the $3.7 billion the major paid for the project in 2011.

And US coal major Peabody Energy lowered the coking coal production rate and sales target from its Burton mine on August 5, citing poor market conditions.