News

Dysart's hammer blow

Norwich Park Mine will cease operations on May 11. The mine, near Dysart, employs about 1300 workers.
Norwich Park Mine will cease operations on May 11. The mine, near Dysart, employs about 1300 workers. Contributed

THE word on the street in the mining town of Dysart for the past couple of weeks was that Norwich Park, just 23km away, was in danger of closing.

But when the news was confirmed by BMA asset president Stephen Dumble it came as a hammer blow.

"We had heard talk about it... we were hoping they would be able to keep it open," Dysart businesswoman Elizabeth Fox said yesterday.

The owner of a pizza shop in the middle of town, about 250km west of Mackay, Ms Fox described the news as another blow for the Dysart community, which has been struggling to cope in recent years because of the two-speed economy.

Mr Dumble blamed the accumulative effects of flooding, a high Aussie dollar and industrial strike action for the closure of Norwich Park mine, which will occur on May 11.

He said the company would try to redeploy the entire mine's 1300 workers, including a permanent workforce of about 490.

Some would go to work at nearby Saraji Mine, to other BMA operations or be offered redundancies.

Mr Dumble said the company had not made the decision lightly.

"The mine has been losing money for months," he said.

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union district president Steve Smyth said members were surprised to hear the news.

"We were only told about half and hour before the company made the official announcement," he said.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive officer Michael Roche acknowledged the difficulties the mine's closure would have on the mining town as well as the Queensland economy.

"The cessation of production at Norwich Park coal mine is clearly a concerning development for the affected workers, their families and the Dysart community," Mr Roche said.

"The situation at this Bowen Basin mine is a salutary reminder to politicians, employees, communities and a multitude of interest groups that it is simply not possible to keep loading more and more costs onto mining operations without consequences," Mr Roache said.

"It is also a stark example of the lasting legacy for the state's coal mines of the 2010-11 wet seasons."

Mr Dumble said it was a sad time for the company but the mine's closure should not be seen as an omen for further company disruption.

"A silver lining, if there is any, would be that BMA is a strong company and we will be able to source employment for our workers," he said.

Employers had worked hard to the restore the mine after it was battered by the 2011 wet season, Mr Dumble said.

He also said the open-cut coal mine had vast resources but at the moment it was more a question of whether it could operate sustainably.

Ms Fox said the closure of the mine would have a direct impact on her business.

"A lot of my staff are teenagers, they're from mining families and their parents work in the mines," she said.

"The wives of the miners all work in the town as well."

Topics:  bma, closure, dysart, norwich park mine




More Telstra outages for the Southern Downs this week

The Telstra website shows Warwick's home phones, ADSL and NBN customers will be...

Is this the start of our Rural Renaissance?

Exports to the US have dropped 40%, China 30% and Japan 10%. China and Saudi Arabia have once more open their doors to Brazilian beef while Indonesia is now looking to Indian buffalo meat to boost its supplies

Rising prices the talk of the town as rain raises farmers’ spirits

Latest deals and offers

What's on the small screen this week

Bella Frizza in a scene from the TV series Married At First Sight.

THE Block's $65,000 bathroom is revealed and strangers marry.

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Noosa mayor on "red alert" over planning court decision

Mayor Tony Wellington hands down his first budget.

Mayor upset at lack of say about look and feel of Noosa