Glencore Xstrata, Peabody lay off over 500 Aussie coal miners

Newly merged Glencore Xstrata (LON: GLEN) and Peabody Energy Corp (NYSE:BTU) are both letting go a total of about 500 coal miners in Australia as a global surplus of the commodity keeps pushing prices down.

According to ABC, Glencore Xstrata’s workers were notified last night of the company’s plan of laying off around 46 employees at its Ravensworth coal mine, in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, North of Sydney.

Peabody plans to cut around 450 contractor jobs across all of its Australian coal mines, reports Australian Mining.

"(Contractors have) traditionally been an area of high spend for the company and as a result we will be reducing approximately 450 contractor positions at our mines over the coming weeks," Peabody president Charles Meintjes was quoted as saying.

Prices for thermal coal, used for power generation, have dropped more than 30% in the last two years to around $80 per tonne. And prices for coking coal, key ingredient for steelmaking, have dived nearly 40% in the last year to roughly $130 per tonne.