BMA to close Norwich Park mine

UP TO 1400 workers will face uncertainty after resources giant BMA announced it would shut its Norwich Park mine.

Of those, 490 are permanent workers the company will try to redeploy to its other operations, its Saraji mine in particular.

The coking coal operation is partly owned by BHP Billiton.

A BHP spokesman said some staff would be given voluntary redundancies at the discretion of the company, but many may be able to find work elsewhere.

"The first obligation is to our direct employees," he said.

"Every effort will be made to redeploy them."

In a statement released just after 2pm, BHP explains that Norwich Park "has been losing money for several months" as it was hit by falling production, rising costs and lower coal prices.

It would "cease production indefinitely".

The decision was made after a seven week review into the project.

BMA asset president Stephen Dumble said it was not made lightly, but there was no escaping that Norwich park "is not currently viable".

"While recent industrial action has had an impact on production, the mine has been unprofitable for some months," Mr Dumble said.

"As a result, we have had to take urgent steps to both stop the losses and find the best way to secure the operation's longer term future.

"Importantly, this decision on Norwich Park Mine is not reflective of the broader quality of our world-class Queensland coal operations."

In the statement, Mr Dumble said the mine would remain closed until a viable solution was found.

"We understand that this decision will have a significant impact on our employees, their families and the Dysart community and we are committed to supporting them during this period," he said.

The mine produced about 2.11 million tonnes of coking coal in the 2011 calendar year, down from 3.74 million tonnes the year before.

Comment is now being sought from the mine workers union.

Topics:  bhp billiton mitsubishi alliance norwich park mine

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