Gough Group contractors lose jobs

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About 39 Gough Group contractors working at Macraes Mine have lost their jobs.

Oceana Gold, which owns the mine, announced on January 7 their contract with Gough Group to have the workers employed on site would be terminated as of January 17.

Gough Group chief executive Karl Smith said there was some frustration from the terminated workers, but they understood Oceana Gold had terminated their contract with Gough Group due to external factors such as the low price of gold.

Mr Smith said the company had done what it could to dampen the effects of the job losses, and had offered the affected workers positions in other areas.

“We’re hopeful that a number of them will be keen to move.

“For them it might be a whole new opportunity.”

He did not yet know how many workers were taking the offer.

“We’ll know more in the next week or two.”

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said he hoped the contractors were re-employed as soon as possible.

“I feel for those staff members who are affected and wish them all the very best,” he said,

“They will be people with skills that will be very much in demand I’m sure.”

Mr Kircher said the situation was a call to action for the community.

“It’s not a time for sitting back and seeing what happens, we’ve got to be proactive.”

Over the next few weeks, he would be meeting with businesses throughout East Otago to see what can be done to help those affected by job cuts, Mr Kircher said.

Oceana Gold declined to comment about the Gough Group job losses.

Oceana Gold senior financial analyst Nova Young said discussions over further job losses were ongoing.

“The company will continue to consult with employees at Macraes and other relevant third parties and discuss alternative arrangements with employees directly impacted.

“Following the consultation, a final decision regarding the number of jobs impacted will be made later this month.”

Oceana Gold has confirmed to media their “re-optimised” mine plan will impact the jobs of about 25 per cent of their workforce, which is comprised of about 560 full employees and contractors.

By DAVID DE LOREAN