Bloomberg News

BHP Coal Mine Workers in Australia Plan to Extend Strikes

February 22, 2012

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- BHP Billiton Ltd.’s coking coal miners in Australia, the world’s largest exporter, filed notices to extend strike action at three operations as a seven-day shut down was due to end today.

Workers plan to strike at the Saraji and Norwich Park operations in Queensland state from Feb. 25 for 10 days, according to notices filed from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Antonios Papaspiropoulos, a spokesman for Melbourne-based BHP, said by phone. The union also plans a night strike at Goonyella Riverside on Feb. 26, he said.

“BHP is entreating miners to come back to the negotiating table,” Papaspiropoulos said.

About 3,000 workers at seven operations in Queensland owned by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, the world’s biggest exporter of steelmaking coal, stopped work for a week this month, adding to rolling strikes since June.

A stoppage of one week would cut output by roughly 1 million metric tons, Lee Bowers, a Sydney-based resources analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. said. Workers at the mines began industrial action over accommodation and job security issues, joining a global push from labor unions as higher commodity prices swell mining company profits.

The BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance is equally owned by BHP and Mitsubishi Development Pty. Almost all the coal mined at the BMA sites, with an annual capacity of 58 million tons, is shipped overseas for steel production, according to its website.

--Editors: Andrew Hobbs, Baldave Singh

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney at ebehrmann1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rebecca Keenan at rkeenan5@bloomberg.net


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