Iron ore jobs in the firing line as BHP review continues

An ongoing review at BHP Billiton’s iron ore operations could see thousands of jobs lost in Western Australia.

There are reports that BHP is looking to cut around 20 per cent of its WA workforce or close to 3000 jobs as it looks to improve costs at its iron ore business.

Any job cuts would come on top of the hundreds recently stripped out of the miner’s metal operations.

More than 100 workers were cut from the company’s iron ore headquarters in Perth last month, while 170 workers were chopped from Mt Whaleback mine in the Pilbara.

 The West Australian reports BHP’s Port Hedland port operations could see 100 job losses in the coming weeks.

While the company’s contractor workforce is also said to be in the firing line.

BHP is said to be acting on recommendations made in a report by management consulting firm McKinsey and Company.

A BHP spokeswoman confirmed the company had engaged external consultants, but refused to be drawn on exact numbers associated with any cost-cutting measures.

“BHP Billiton Iron Ore regularly undertakes improvement initiatives and organisational reviews as part of an ongoing focus on productivity and cost reduction,” she said.

The review is said to be aimed at ensuring BHP’s iron ore arm remains “a competitive, world-class operation.”

“We have been open with our employees about the work being done to improve productivity, and the review, and we hold regular all employee Town Hall meetings and question and answer sessions with the business leaders as a matter of course.”

As the mining phase moves from investment-led construction to a production focus, BHP has placed a renewed and aggressive emphasis on productivity and efficiency gains across its entire portfolio in an effort to simplify mining operations.

BHP said a productivity focus is “not new”.

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