PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Yancoal on Monday announced that it would start standing down the workforce at the Austar operation, in New South Wales, and where possible, redeploy the majority of the staff to other Yancoal-owned underground operations.
Yancoal manages the Austar mine on behalf of subsidiary Watang Mining Company, which is controlled by a consortium of financiers.
The mine currently employs about 2 015 staff, and in 2017 produced two-million tonnes of run-of-mine coal and 1.9-million tonnes of saleable coal.
The move to stand down staff at Austar comes as the company awaits the outcome of legal proceedings seeking an external merits review in the Industrial Relations Commission, on two prohibition notices issued by the regulator in relation to the Austar underground mine.
The regulator in May prohibited all underground longwall production activities at Austar following a coal burst event which caused significant damage to the longwall shearer. The burst saw an estimated 60 t of coal ejected from the longwall face, approximately 2 t of which landed in the walkway at the front of the powered roof supports.
The regulator had previously prohibited cutting at the longwall as a result of a coal burst event in March this year.
“We have worked to redeploy the majority of the Austar workforce to the Ashton, Abel and Moolarben underground mines in the interest of providing continued employment for our people,” said Yancoal CEO Reinhold Schmidt.
“Until all legal avenues have been exhausted and we can re-enter the mine to move the longwall, we are unable to continue proposed longwall activity,” he said.
The mine will retain a skeleton crew to maintain the operation in accordance with compliance requirements.