BMA, Rio Tinto, Xstrata cut coal jobs

Rio Tinto, BMA, and Xstrata have announced job cuts to the contractor workforce on their Queensland coal mines.

Central Queensland News reports 100 workers were cut from BMA's Gregory Crinum mine and 70 were cut from Rio's Kestrel-KME operation.

Repeating a now familiar company line, BHP Billiton said rising costs and difficult economic conditions had forced the "tough decisions".

Central Queensland News reports Rio said its move to cut contractors at Kestrel were intended to adapt to the mine's "transition phase".

Rio Tinto was unavailable for further comment today.

The company last month cut jobs at its Clermont coal mine and also brought forward the closure of the Blair Athol operation.

Last week Xstrata also announced it would be cutting contractor numbers on its coal mines but refused to detail how many workers would go or which sites would be impacted.

Outside the coal sector Rio chief executive Tom Albanese told an investor meeting in Sydney this week aluminium assets in Australia, including the Gove refinery in the Northern Territory, might be closed if poor market conditions continued.

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