BHP cuts nickel jobs

BHP has cut around 100 jobs from its Nickel West operations.

The miner has made cuts to a number of support staff, the accounting division, human resources, and other administration roles, according to The West.

However no front line positions have been lost.

Nickel West chief Paul Harvey emailed staff yesterday, stating that current "market conditions remain a challenge" and costs will be cut.

“We are restructuring our functional support teams, which will result in a reduction in the number of employees from both the Nickel West Perth office and each Nickel West operation and at the same time making changes to align our organisational structure,” Harvey said.

Earlier this year BHP shed 155 jobs from the Nickel West operations, blaming the falling nickel price and high dollar.

While BHP has previously stated that it would not sell off the nickel assets, a long running slump in the sector has already seen a number of job cuts and mine closures in the metal.

Nickel exploration is expected to drop further in the year ahead and if prices keep falling then "more mines may close," according to WA Mines Minister Norman Moore.

In a speech in Perth Moore said the nickel industry was struggling through tough times and the market price for the mineral had dropped significantly.

"The current price has reached levels not seen since mid-2009 in the midst of the global financial crisis," he said.

"This is a cause of concern and if the trend continues more mines may close."

Moore said the price falls had already caused "much pain" to nickel producers, with companies making significant layoffs over the last 12 months.

Last month Xstrata closed the Cosmos mine and sacked 150 workers due to the declining market, and last year the company also closed the Prospero mine for the same reason.

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