BHP to wind back jobs at Olympic Dam

BHP plans to cut around 30 per cent of its full time equivalent employees at Olympic Dam by FY17, BHP says.

According to a BHP spokesperson, the workforce reduction would consist mostly of contractors and other FTE employees, with the cutbacks relative to FY15.

“It is important to note that this is full time equivalent costs in dollar terms rather than headcount, so it also includes contractor efficiencies not just BHP Billiton employees," BHP asset president Olympic Dam, Jacqui McGill, said.

"The majority of these savings have already been delivered, and we are not planning further redundancies.”

This latest announcement follows the miner's plan to cut 380 positions from the operation, and marks the fifth planned round of reductions at the mine.

It comes as the mine attempts to increase tonnages from the operation, forecasting 200,000 tonnes of production from FY16 to FY19, rising to around 220,000 tones of production capacity by FY19, while at the same time driving down costs.

“We have the industry’s largest copper resource and our business will gain momentum over the next two years with lower costs and higher production across our major assets as we safely improve productivity,” BHP’s president for copper, Daniel Malchuk, said.

“Olympic Dam unit costs are expected to fall 48 per cent by the end of the 2017 financial year to US$1 per pound,” Malchuk said, “repositioning the asset at the low end of the cost curve.”

“These results are a strong endorsement of the great work being undertaken by the whole Olympic Dam team, and show that the difficult decisions we have made this year and our focus on costs are generating results," McGill added.

"This shows that it is possible to operate a globally competitive mine and processing plant in South Australia, and supports my view that South Australia is a great place to do business.”

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