New mines lack staff, housing

Monday 15 November 2004

The West Coast will be put under severe strain next year as it tries to find staff and accommodation for up to 200 new mining jobs.

By The Landlord

The Pike River Coal Company and Oceana Gold expect to start recruiting next year for their big mining developments at Paparoa and Reefton respectively.

State-owned coal producer Solid Energy has had to hire mine staff from Britain because of labour shortages on the West Coast, which is experiencing its lowest level of unemployment for years.

Finding enough staff to get the mines going is only half the battle, with the housing and rental market tighter than ever before.

"It's massive, and to be honest I don't know what the answer would be," Recruit West Coast co-ordinator Tania Huckle said.

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