BHP Billiton spin-off South32 will take another $US1.7 billion ($2.4bn) writedown, slash production, sack 620 workers and explore the potential for hundreds more job cuts around Australia in the strongest demonstration yet of the company’s “value over volume” philosophy.
Shares in South32 soared more than 14 per cent after it confirmed it would scale back its South African manganese operations indefinitely in response to the global slump in manganese prices.
It said it was looking at “substantial” job cuts at operations including its Illawarra coalmines in NSW, its Worsley alumina operation in Western Australia and its manganese mines on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory.
The Perth-based company said it would provide more detail on the job losses at its upcoming half-year results when it would spell out plans for a “meaningful” reduction in costs at several of its key Australian operations.
The 620 job cuts announced yesterday will all be incurred across South32’s South African manganese operations, which have been under review for months in response to the weakness in manganese prices.
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