Over 500 jobs disappear from Rio’s Argyle mine in 12 months

It is understood more jobs have been cut at Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia.

The company has confirmed a number of construction contractors had been “demobilised”, The West Australian reports.

But details on how many workers have been impacted by the decision remain brief.

It is estimated over 500 jobs have been cut at Argyle since September 2012.

In September last year Rio announced it was cutting staff numbers by a fifth, during a period when the company was looking to offload the asset.

Five months later Rio slashed 350 construction positions at the site.

The miner had planes waiting on the ground to take contractors off site within hours of breaking the news.

Launching underground production in April, Rio said peak production would not be achieved until around 2015.

The move underground is expected to extend the mine's life to at least 2020, with the open pit operation finishing up this year.

A month after Rio confirmed it would no longer be divesting the Kimberley site, Australian Mining reported another 78 contractor positions were cut from the operation.

The workers which were employed by contractor Macmahon, were sacked as pressure mounted on Rio to reduce its operating costs.

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