Debt-hit Glencore to slash jobs at Australia coal mine

7th December 2015, Comments 0 comments

Debt-laden mining giant Glencore said Monday it has begun talks with miners at its Collinsville coal mine in Australia where it plans to cut back production affecting 180 jobs.

The Switzerland-based group said talks with miners were launched last week and that for a start the mine would be closed for three weeks during the holidays.

Then in 2016, it plans to reduce production in order to limit the stock in the pit, it added in an email sent to AFP.

The changes will affect around 180 of the 230 people employed at the mine located in Queensland, in the northeast of Australia.

Glencore is struggling under the weight of tens-of-billions-of-dollars in debt with a global rout in commodities prices hitting its bottom line.

The market for heating coal has fallen 43 percent since Glencore took over the Collinsville mine with its acquisition of the mining group Xstrata in 2013, the company said.

"It is a particularly difficult decision given the significant effort and the improvements made at Collinsville by Glencore and the entire workforce over the last two years in attempting to turn around the mine's financial position," the company said.

"The situation at Collinsville reflects the challenges being faced by all Australian coal mines in one of the most difficult markets in the industry's recent history."

The decline in global commodities prices has caused Glencore to lose more than three quarters of its value since listing with much fanfare in London and Hong Kong in May 2011.

Since September Glencore has announced a series of drastic moves aimed at cutting its towering $30-billion debt by a third, including suspension of activities at its Katanga copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Glencore is scheduled to report on its current strategy at a conference for investors on Thursday.

Glencore shares dropped 0.44 percent to 86.91 pence in mid-morning trade in London in an overall market up 0.56 percent.

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© 2015 AFP

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