More workers are being laid off at two coal mines near Estevan than initially thought.

Sherritt International Corp. confirmed Thursday that about 30 jobs are being cut at its mines near Estevan and Bienfait.

That number is higher than the 23 layoffs union representatives earlier said were scheduled for April 11.

“This certainly was a very difficult decision for the company to make,” said Sean McCaughan, senior vice-president of Sherritt’s coal division.

“A lot of time and thinking went into this and we thank all of the affected employees for their years of service to the business and any folks in the community that may be impacted by this.”

In early March, Sherritt notified employees of a “head-count reduction” at the two mines as part of an ongoing strategic review aimed at improving efficiency.

The cuts mainly affect equipment operators at the mines, which supply coal to SaskPower’s Boundary Dam and Shand thermal electric generating stations.

Some of the workers who are losing their jobs were employed at the company’s activated carbon plant in Bienfait.

In December, the company announced it was selling its three mines in Saskatchewan to Colorado-based Westmoreland Coal.

McCaughan said the layoffs are not related to the impending sale of the mines.