Mount Gibson, Atlas Iron cuts workers

Mount Gibson Iron has announced it will cut its workforce by 270 positions, while Atlas will cut its exploration team.

It comes a month after Mt Gibson announced it was reviewing opportunities to reduce total capital expenditure.

Mount Gibson blamed the spiralling iron ore price for the reduction; with company CEO Jim Beyer stating that the immediate market outlook remains uncertain".

Due to this it will cut 270 positions, 140 of which are contractors, the company said in a statement.

"Almost all of these reductions will occur at Koolan Island. In addition, some of the already planned redundancies at Tallering Peak associated with mine closure will be brought forward," it said.

As part of these cost reductions the miner will suspend all discretionary expenditure, non-safety related training, and reduce its use of external consultants.

Mt Gibson's board and senior management will also take a 10% pay cut.

Beyer explained that with the current commodity price "the only prudent course of action is to implement comprehensive measures that control costs and enable our operations to remain cash positive across the price cycle, including low points.

"Nonetheless, it is always difficult to reduce your workforce, and we will be providing as much assistance as we can to those people affected by the changes we have announced."

However following these announcements the miner's share price actually jumped close to 20%.

Atlas Iron also announced that it will reduce its workforce.

In a statement yesterday, the miner said that while it has ramped up its mining operations, lifting production guidance, it will reduce its exploration workforce.

Atlas stated that it has shipped a record 1.59 million tonnes during the September quarter.

According to Ken Brisden, Atlas' managing director, "we will see our capacity grow to 12 mtpa by the end of next year".

It also managed to lower its operating cost guidance to $46 to $50 per tonne following a wide ranging cost review.

As part of this review it concluded that long term exploration and evaluation activity could be deferred.

As part of this deferment it will cut around 27 full time positions, the majority of which are in the exploration and evaluation divisions.

However "a further 23 roles (primarily exploration and evaluation roles) have been redeployed across the business, including a focus on roles in new mine development".

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