The Government must step in to help the 113 mineworkers who’ve been dumped by Solid Energy today – and the communities around them – to begin a discussion about an alternative future for the West Coast that doesn’t rely on a boom and bust industry, Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) said today.
With coal prices forecast to remain at record lows into the foreseeable future, and with investors dumping coal across the world, banking on the coal industry to provide an economic future for the West Coast would be a risky strategy.
On Saturday, CANA released an update of its Jobs After Coal report, which shows that 111 jobs have been lost in the coal industry since March last year. With today’s announcements, that number is now at 224, even with Bathurst Resources’ efforts to dig up more domestic coal to keep itself afloat.
“Solid Energy is a stranded asset – even its chair has resigned because she doesn’t think the company has a future. Yet the Government continues to push coal and other fossil fuels as a future for New Zealand,” said CANA spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons.
The report calls for the Coast – helped by Government – to begin a community-wide discussion to a “just transition” to a more stable economic future for the West Coast. It lists examples of how other former coal communities have succeeded in turning themselves around.