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CBH makes “right call”

Saturday, 25th January, 2014

By By Andrew Robertson

The boss of CBH Resources believes the company’s decision to cut jobs and reduce production at its Rasp mine last year has “proven to be the right call”.

CEO Steven Dennis also said yesterday that the new strategy of focusing on higher grade areas of the lead and zinc mine “remained intact”.

In September last year 51 jobs were axed from Rasp in response to what CBH said were unsustainable losses.

The job cuts came just 15 months after production began at the mine which still employs around 140 people.

Production was reduced by almost 20,000 tonnes per month as CBH shifted focus to developing areas with higher grades of ore.

Yesterday Mr Dennis said he was confident the company had made the right decision.

He said since the resizing “a lot of time and effort” had been put into developing the higher grade main lode resources which would in time provide higher grade feed to the plant.

“Yes we made the call and I think with the passing of time it’s proven to be the right call,” Mr Dennis told the BDT.

“The strategy’s still intact and we still think to the middle and backend of this year we’ll be in better shape than what we’ve been in the past.

“The good news is this might coincide with better lead and zinc prices as well ... so this is all about getting set up for hopefully better times.”

The company gave itself 15 months to turn things around and Mr Dennis said yesterday that there was still a way to go before the new operations plan yielded significant results.

“We’ve had surprises and the development that needs to be done is nowhere near complete.”

Meanwhile, the recent fall in the Australian dollar against the US dollar has provided some relief, according to Mr Dennis.

And while metal prices have remained relatively low CBH is predicting higher prices for lead and zinc towards the end of this year.

“Zinc and lead I think are in for brighter times than we’ve seen over the last few years,” Mr Dennis said.

However another external influence continues to have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line.

“We’re still living with this hideous carbon tax and that costs this company three and half million dollars per year.

“It’s the most insidious tax I have ever come across and it’s a disgrace that it’s still imposed on us as a tax in circumstances where we are struggling to make a living.”

Meanwhile, a new mine manager is helping steer Rasp into better days.

Rob Williams has replaced Tony Davis, who left the company prior to last year’s changes.

Mr Dennis said CBH now had “the best management team we could expect” in Mr Williams and operations manager, Visko Sulicich.  

“We chose Rob not only because of his technical strengths but also what we believe are his leadership qualities.

“He has settled into the operation very well and I think has been very well received by the Rasp team.”

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