Southern Ports Authority have confirmed they have opened expressions of interest for voluntary redundancy for 18 staff based in Esperance.
The announcement follows the resumption of operations at Cliffs Asia Pacific Iron Ore’s Koolyanobbing mine under new owner Mineral Resources on Wednesday, August 29.
It is understood an agreement between Mineral Resources, the state government, Southern Ports Authority and Cliffs was finalised on Tuesday, August 28.
Iron ore through Esperance Port is expected to continue at a volume of around 6 million tonnes per annum for the next five years, almost half the amount received in 2015 and 2016.
Southern Ports Authority acting chief executive officer Alan Byers said every effort had been made to retain as many port jobs as possible but there was not enough work to support the current workforce.
“The fact this trade has been able to continue, with a relatively short time between the final iron ore shipment from Cliffs in June, and the expected first shipment from Mineral Resources in November, is good news,” he said.
“Had the state government not gone in to secure this deal between Mineral Resources Limited and Cliffs, we may well be facing a very different situation today.
“Every effort has been made to retain as many Port jobs as possible, but the truth is we are not going to have enough work to support our current workforce.”
Mr Byers confirmed that Southern Ports had been consulting with the Maritime Union of Australia, and employee representatives for those staff employed under the Operations and Maintenance Agreement, to determine a way forward following the change in trade.
Expressions of interest are due to Human Resources by September 10, with the authority aiming to confirm offers of voluntary redundancies by September 14.
The last day of work for staff who have received confirmation of a voluntary redundancy is expected to be September 21.
Information has been provided to staff who are eligible to express an interest in voluntary redundancy and Southern Ports Authority have confirmed that they will reimburse financial counselling advice for staff.
Cliffs announced the sale of their Koolyanobbing mine just three weeks before shipping out of Esperance Port was due to cease.
The state government had committed to time limited royalty relief for Cliffs-related port throughput and reduced charges in a bid to guarantee continued operations and protect local jobs.