Prepare for delays, BHP tells workers

BHP Billiton head of iron ore Jimmy Wilson has told staff to prepare for possible "extended project development timelines" amid rumours of job cuts at the company.

The Australian reports Wilson told staff in an internal e-mail BHP was facing significant challenges with rising costs and decreasing commodity prices.

"It is in this overall context that we are reviewing the sequence and pace of our future growth projects and our capital and operational efficiency," he said.

Yesterday unsourced reports hinted BHP was looking to delay its outer harbour development at Port Hedland and cut jobs on some Pilbara projects.

But a BHP spokesperson told Australian Mining there was little basis to the rumours.

The spokesperson said BHP had long talked of cost pressures in Australia and some of the company's recent comments were "nothing new".

"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.

PerthNow reports BHP CEO Marius Kloppers said while there was overall confidence in the underlying fundamentals of the industry the sector seemed to have reached the "particularly pointy end of the commodity cycle".

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