The National, Monday June 24th, 2013
By GYNNIE KERO
THE present workforce of Newcrest at its Lihir operations will be reduced by 18% and talks with affected employees are now being held, general manager operations Karl Spaleck said.
Of the 18% (or 450), 250 are expatriates and 200 nationals.
The miner has a total of 2,500 direct employees at present.
The announcement came after the Lihir gold operations completed a review of its entire mine, process and maintenance plans in line with the Newcrest FY14 (financial year 2014) budget.
Spaleck said: “Our level of activity (Lihir) will be reduced and then prioritised to ensure we are delivering on the critical actions.
“Over the last few days, we have seen a reduction of our workforce numbers and talks are being held with employees affected by the changes.
“With the process plant upgrade at Lihir behind us, we are now working on achieving reliable predictable performance, optimising the plant and simplifying our operations.
“There will be a bigger focus on using the stockpiled ore, which is an asset that has been building for a number of years.
“We will be maximising the capacity of the processing plant now that we have completed the major K2 billion plus investment made over the past several years to increase its capacity.
“Since Newcrest’s March quarterly release, which indicated that a revised operating strategy would be developed for Lihir, we have been in regular communication with our employees about the review process and that this would result in changes for the workforce.
“Similarly, we have also been engaging on the same basis with our internal and external stakeholders.
“There will also be an impact on some of our contractors and we have also been in talks with them.
“Lihir’s success – through stable, profitable and sustainable operations – is essential to it providing the returns expected by all stakeholders including shareholders, government at all levels and landowners, over the longer term.”
He added: “The company will begin the implementation of a simplified business model.
“The changes are being made in the context of a challenging external environment which has seen gold prices fall significantly, the biggest fall in the last 30 years.”