February 6, 2024
Wollongong Coal’s decision to close the Russell Vale Colliery is a sad day for the workforce and local coal industry, the Miners’ Union said today.
The union said it was hopeful the leases for Russell Vale and Wongawilli coal mines could be taken over by a new operator rather than the mines being permanently closed.
Mining and Energy Union (MEU) South Western District Secretary Andy Davey said union representatives had met workers on site today and would continue to support members to ensure they received full entitlements.
“We understand the regulator has to do its job enforcing the safe operation of coal mines, leading to this decision by Jindal Steel and Power,” said Mr Davey.
“It’s a sad day for the region because of the long history of coal mining at Russell Vale. It’s always difficult to lose so many local jobs, with the flow-on effect to families and community.
“We have a thriving local coal industry and we are confident some of these experienced workers will pick up work locally. However we are already aware of some workers looking at moving interstate.”
Mr Davey said the leases for Russell Vale and Wongawilli mines should be taken over by a new operator rather than being permanently closed.
“We will be seeking discussions with the NSW government at the earliest opportunity to urge a solution for these coal mines that will keep them open.
“The Bulli and Wongawilli coal seams produce some of the world’s best metallurgical coal for steel-making. We’d like to see these leases handed over to an operator who can run these mines efficiently and safely.”