BHP expects job cuts at Worsley Alumina after efficiency review
BHP Billiton has confirmed the completion of a 4-year project that focused growth and efficiency, leading to a review of the number of roles need for operation at the Worsley Alumina site in the south west corner of Australia. The company has made it clear that the review will lead to job cuts for BHP, but a specific number has not been made clear.
There are currently 1,200 employees at Worsley Alumina, ranging from jobs created through the employment of subcontractors and support from local businesses and suppliers. Last year, a major expansion of operations was completed, leading the business into a phase designated for stabilisation. Since then, redundancies have been detected in their operations.
Several people have commented on the potential for job loss at the site, including an official spokeswoman for the company and the CEO of the Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
“With no new projects planned for the next five years, the organisational structure of Worsley is under review,” said the BHP spokeswoman. “This includes reviewing the nature and number of roles needed to support safe and efficient production and ensure Worsley has a sustainable future. We don’t intend to provide any detail about specific adjustments, but clearly there may be some impact on jobs in some areas. The review is ongoing and no operational disruptions are anticipated.”
Ray Philp, Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and Industries CEO has chalked up the job losses to a change of phase at the site, which many in the construction sector expect.
“It is about a change of roles, from a construction to an operation workforce so the construction workers aren’t required anymore,” he said. “I think people who are in the construction workforce are used to working based on the projects as they happen.”
Bunbury in involved from an export standpoint with the mine. An expansion to the mine in 2000 (construction on the mine and refinery began in 1980) caused an increase in production. Now, around 3.1 million tonnes a year are carted by rail and exported through the Port of Bunbury.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.