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Mine closures could result in 400,000 redundancies by 2035

Coal mining

Mine closures could result in 400,000 redundancies by 2035

Coal miners are bracing for large-scale layoffs, with an estimated 400,000 people losing jobs by 2035.

The cuts are primarily concentrated in China and India. 

This change, driven by the transition from coal, means an average of 100 jobs will be reduced daily until 2035.

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A report from Global Energy Monitor shows that the closure of coal mines would eliminate approximately 15 percent of all global coal mining jobs by 2035.

The situation is predicted to escalate further, possibly surging to nearly 1 million by 2050.

The world is embracing more cost-effective and sustainable alternatives like wind and solar power generation.

These job losses are reminders of the social and political dilemmas businesses and governments face to steer the global economy away from fossil fuels.

Factors such as automation, improved operational efficiency, and fluctuating commodity cycles have magnified these challenges.

It led to contentious debates and concerns in countries spanning the US, Europe, and Australia.

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The report suggests that to alleviate difficulties from these layoffs, they must prioritise ex-miners for job opportunities that arise due to mine shutdowns. 

Such opportunities may cover land rehabilitation and mitigating environmental repercussions once mining operations end.

China, responsible for over half of the world’s coal production and consumption, providing more than 1.5 million mining jobs. 

The Global Energy Monitor suggests that China’s Shanxi province alone will lose more than 240,000 mining jobs by 2050. 

In response, China’s government has encouraged companies to replace underground labour with automated machinery.

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It’s partly to mitigate the societal impacts of impending mine closures.

In India, Coal India Ltd, a state-owned enterprise that outproduces any other coal company, faces the most significant corporate ramifications from these layoffs.

Nearly 74,000 of its workers face redundancies by 2050. 

Already, the firm has seen a decrease in its headcount, dropping from 310,000 employees in 2017 to 240,000 this year.

The decline is estimated to accelerate due to retirements and outsourcing, limiting new hiring.

Company officials have indicated a yearly staff reduction of about 13,000 to 14,000 people.

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