Job cut rumours hit BHP

Speculation is mounting that BHP Billiton is eyeing job cuts in the Pilbara and is looking to curtail the Port Hedland outer harbour development.

The West Australian reports an unnamed contractor said BHP would soon announce delays to its Port Hedland expansion plans.

And responding to speculation of job cuts a BHP spokesperson told The West Australian "there may be some impact on headcount in some areas".

Earlier this week rumours surfaced BHP was looking to delay final approval of expansions at Olympic Dam until 2014.

The revisions signal a rising timidity in the mining sector, and follow several reports marking pessimism and mixed expectations for the future of the sector.

UPDATE

A BHP spokesperson told Australian Mining there was only "speculation" and little basis to rumours of Pilbara job cuts and delays at Port Hedland.

"All we would say is that against a backdrop of increasing costs and falling commodity prices, we continue to focus on reducing our overheads, operating costs and non-essential expenditures  to ensure our assets are well positioned on their relative cost curves," they said.

"This includes reviewing our overhead costs and the sequencing of our major projects."

The spokesperson said the outer harbour development was not yet before senior management and it was "too early" to make comments about the project.

"If there is a decision to be made we'll make an annoucement but the proposal is not before the board yet so it's too soon to be making any comments or speculation," they said.

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