Rio Tinto cuts WA iron ore jobs, 500 expected to go (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – November 21, 2016)

Mining giant Rio Tinto has confirmed it is cutting more jobs across its iron ore division in Western Australia. The company told the ABC “rolling reductions” were underway, with jobs at head office in Perth to be targeted first.

Rio has released a one-line statement acknowledging tough conditions for iron ore. “The market outlook remains challenging and we currently have 1,000 initiatives underway across our business to reduce costs, improve productivity and ensure we remain internationally competitive,” it said.

The iron ore price hit almost $US80 a tonne on Friday, but has fallen to $US72 over the weekend. Rio Tinto said most analysts were forecasting the iron ore price to average $US40–50 a tonne next year.

Rio Tinto cut 170 jobs from its Pilbara operations in March. The latest cuts come in the wake of a proposal by West Australian Nationals leader Brendon Grylls to hit big mining companies with a $5-per-tonne iron ore tax.

The tax has been widely criticised by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton and the Chamber of Minerals and Energy on the grounds it is unfair and would cost jobs.

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