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Management axes mine workers despite skills shortage

Wiluna mine
Wiluna mine

A mineral producer cut loose more than a dozen employees despite struggling to fill multiple job vacancies.

Wiluna Mining Corporation recently retrenched less than 20 workers at its Wiluna Gold Mine, 530km north of Kalgoorlie.

The company justified the decision by claiming it would help save money. It is separately conducting a $63.5 million emergency capital raising to help cover costs. The employer is also demobilised all drill rigs, removing at least one jumbo, and limiting mine works and development to just “core” areas.

“The company continues to work on optimising productivity and costs based on an efficient deployment of underground and surface equipment, targeting costs at or below industry standards as we move towards commercial production,” it said in the latest operational update.

“[We are also] reducing overheads and increasing productivity from site administration, maintenance, surface operations and other site support functions.”

These remarks came despite the proponent reporting a severe lack of manpower due to the pandemic. It revealed work is well behind schedule.

“The company has been hampered by manning issues due to the significant shortages of skilled labour, which have been further exacerbated by COVID-19 issues. This has resulted in slower mining and drilling rates than expected including a delay of the drilling of higher-grade stopes which has only just commenced – which, has in turn, negatively affected mined grades in the first four months of calendar 2022,” the update said.

“The company estimates that it is therefore three to four months behind where it expected to be into its mining program.”

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