Miner South32 cuts more jobs

June 3, 201610:44 am505 views
Miner South32 cuts more jobs
South32 CEO Graham Kerr speaks at the Melbourne Mining Club lunch in Melbourne, Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AAP Image/Mal Fairclough)

BHP Billiton spinoff South32 will axe 270 office jobs in Australia, South Africa and Singapore as it continues to cut costs amid low commodity prices.

About 150 of the job losses will be cut in Australia, mostly in Perth.

They come on top of 772 jobs that South32 announced in February would be cut from its Australian operations, and 350 to be cut at the Cerro Matosa nickel mine and smelter in Colombia.

“We certainly continue to right-size the business,” chief executive Graham Kerr told reporters after addressing the Melbourne Mining Club on Thursday.

“All the terms aren’t finalised so we haven’t come out and had a big press statement about it.

“But effectively there was 270 jobs across our corporate and regional centres that we spoke to people about last week – some places like South Africa, we’re running a process through that.

“There’s also 144 jobs that we haven’t filled from day one that we’re not going to fill.”

Mr Kerr said the company had to make decisions that were right for the long term viability of the business.

Commodity prices are rebounding in the second quarter of the 2016 calendar year, but Mr Kerr said he did not think that would be sustained.

“I’d expect to see some softening in quarter three and four, and we’re already seeing that today in some of our commodities,” he said.

Manganese and alumina prices were “harder and faster” than expected in the second quarter of the calendar year, predominantly driven by restocking in China and the government putting more stimulus into the steel industry, Mr Kerr said.

He also said there was a prospect of a strike at its Cerro Matosa mine, where it is in talks with unions over pay and conditions.

“It’s not uncommon in places like Cerro for people to go on strike – we had something similar this time last year that lasted for I think about 18 days from memory – we’re hoping it doesn’t get to a strike,” Mr Kerr said.

The Cerro Matosa mine is cash negative at the moment and that has to be improved, he said.

news source & image credits: sbs.com.au

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