BSL job cuts uncertain as workers battle to find savings
WORKERS are battling through an uncertain Christmas period at Boyne Smelters Limited, where production will begin winding down from January 1.
But the company still hasn't put any firm numbers on how many employees might lose their jobs or be suspended as production at the smelter is cut by about 14,000 tonnes over the next three months.
BSL general manager Joe Rea said a team was working on a process transformation to improve the operating efficiency of the plant, which also involved working with the employees to identify the bottlenecks and opportunities in the current process.
He said BSL employees were committed to operating beyond 2030, and were actively finding better ways of producing aluminium that would improve the cost efficiency.
"For BSL to make this vision a reality and compete on the global scale with the continued tough economic climate, we need to find innovative ways to reduce costs to offset this temporary production loss," he said.
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The operation employs about 1000 people and indirectly supports about 6700 jobs nationally with 3000 of these jobs in the Gladstone region.
The smelter is the largest in Australia and contributes more than $1.4 billion annually to Australia's gross domestic product with more than half of this economic benefit going to the Gladstone region.
The decision to reduce aluminium production has stemmed from months of negotiations with Queensland electricity suppliers to try to secure a competitive price for 140mW of the smelter's electricity, which ends on December 31.
The three-month curtailment will reduce production at the smelter by 8% due to high Queensland electricity prices over the summer months, but the smelter intends to return to full production in April.