Australian mining giants axe jobs as higher prices cut profit

GLOBAL miners BHP Billiton and Xstrata have cut mining jobs in Australia as they fight against lower coal prices, higher costs and a strong Australian dollar.

Takeover target Xstrata announced yesterday it is to cut 600 jobs across some of its Australian mines, the corporate headquarters in Sydney as well as some office-based jobs in Queensland.

Meanwhile, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), a joint venture between BHP and Mitsubishi, said yesterday it would shut its Gregory mine, near Emerald in Australia, from 10 October as it deemed production at the mine was “no longer profitable in the current economic environment”.

The mine produced 2.8m tonnes of coking coal in the year to June.

Production costs at the mine exceed revenues, according to the BMA asset president Stephen Dumble.

BMA added that it would try to move the 297 staff and contractors to other mines run under the same alliance.

Both Xstrata and BHP Billiton are continuing with ongoing profitability reviews, while BHP said it would also review its assets.