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Pike River is 'growing' miners

Wednesday 9th July 2008

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Pike River Coal (PRC) has now recruited more than 70 staff as it prepares for first coal production on or around 31 August 2008.

"We have had considerable success in recruiting miners, electricians and fitters over the past couple of months" said Peter Whittall, general manager mines.

"We have taken on board six deputies, 13 experienced miners, six trainee miners and eight tradesmen since March. Many are already on site with the remainder starting during the next month. We have also employed three local apprentices to develop more skills in the local area".

Pike River is running an active recruitment programme both domestically and overseas with the result that skilled mining staff are being recruited from New Zealand as well as offshore.

"Despite the tight domestic labour market, we have been able to recruit a number of Kiwis into the mine with roughly one third being local West Coasters. However, there are some specialist areas such as the electrical trades where we have advertised around the country for 12 positions, but only had two applications. As a result, we have had to look to recruit offshore with countries like South Africa and Australia proving to be a good source for skilled mining positions where there are local shortages," Whittall said.

At present Whittall said staffing levels are more than adequately prepared for the start of coal mining operations and that PRC will continue to recruit to support their scheduled production ramp-up to 200,000 tonnes for the year ending 30 June 2009.

The Company will eventually employ 150 staff when full production starts in mid-2009, with estimated downstream employment for at least another 450 locals providing support services.

This will make Pike River the fifth largest employer on the West Coast and provide a substantial boost for the West Coast economy and local employment.

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