Miners Shed Thousands of Jobs as Commodities Prices Slide – by Scott Patterson (Wall Street Journal – July 24, 2015)


Anglo American to cut 53,000 jobs, while Lonmin will cut 6,000 jobs over the next two years

The world’s biggest miners are hemorrhaging jobs as the price for almost everything they dig up—from gold to aluminum to copper—slides relentlessly downward.

Anglo American PLC, the U.K. mining titan, on Friday announced the most dramatic job-reduction figure yet in the ailing industry, saying it would slash 53,000 jobs over the next several years—including 6,000 in the corporate offices amounting to $500 million in savings. That would amount to a reduction of 35% of its current workforce of 151,000.

“We’re looking at every dollar and pulling everything back,” Anglo-American Chief Executive Mark Cutifani said in a presentation of the miner’s first-half earnings results to investors Friday. “It’s a constant process driving out costs.”

Also on Friday, South Africa’s Lonmin PLC said it would cut 6,000 workers over the next two years. BHP Billiton has recently cut hundreds of jobs linked to its giant copper, gold and uranium mine, Olympic Dam, in South Australia so far this year.

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., the world’s fourth largest iron-ore exporter, on Thursday didn’t rule out further job cuts as it said it intends to cut costs in the year ahead by nearly the same amount it slashed in the two past fiscal years combined.

Tens of thousands of jobs are estimated to be have been cut across Australia, from the coal fields of Queensland state to the goldfields of the country’s west, over the past couple of years.

Staff cuts are among the measures miners are taking to lower their costs amid a historic downturn in commodity prices driven by China’s abrupt economic slowdown. Anglo and other big miners such as Rio Tinto PLC have also moved to restructure organizations that had grown quickly when China was gobbling up commodities.

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