Central Qld mine sheds 250 jobs
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BRISBANE, Oct 17 AAP
October 17 2012, 1:23PM
The chief of a central Queensland mine has blamed lower coal prices for the decision to sack 250 workers.
Ensham Resources has confirmed the employees at its open cut coal mine in the Bowen Basin will be let go over the next two months.
The decision comes after 150 jobs were cut in August at the mine, which is 40km northeast of Emerald.
The loss of 400 jobs brings the operation's workforce down to 500.
Coal production will drop from $5 million tonnes to $3 million tonnes per year.
Chief executive Peter Westerhuis said greatly reduced coal prices had made many areas of the mine unsustainable.
"Our competitors in other countries are able to land their products at the doors of our customers for lower prices," he said in a statement.
"The prospect of a rebound in coal prices in the near-term appears remote.
"In such circumstances it is vital that mine operations are adjusted in order to sustain the business."
Mr Westerhuis added that hikes in mining taxes compounded "an already difficult situation".
Around 900 coal mining jobs were slashed at BHP Billiton and Xstrata's Australian operations last month.
A Queensland government tax on coal royalties took effect on October 1 while the federal government's tax on coal and iron ore profits began in July.