Rio job and asset cuts going ahead

Rio Tinto’s chief executive Sam Walsh said the company is going ahead with job and asset cuts, with the entire business to be affected.

Speaking at the annual general meeting in Sydney yesterday, chief executive Sam Walsh said two-thirds of the cuts are focused on Rio’s aluminium and energy businesses.

“Even in our head office in London, we’re looking there to significantly reduce our cost bas and significantly reduce numbers,” he said.

He added selling of assets outside those publicly announced is a possibility, the ABC reported.

Rio Tinto is proceeding with scheduled job cuts and asset sales in a bid to slash operating costs by $US5 billion over the next two years.

Rio Tinto had previously said it is looking at selling its aluminium and diamonds businesses because they are no longer central to the company’s future.

“We’re targeting cash proceeds from divestments and are reviewing a number of potential non-core assets for divestment, in addition to those we’ve already announced, such as Pacific Aluminium and Diamonds,” Walsh said.

“We’re working flat out to deliver our commitments.”

When asked by an investor at the meeting how much Rio had paid in the Federal Government’s mining tax during the March quarter, Walsh did not divulge.

He said he could not disclose the figure or forecast how much mining tax the company would pay this year.

“This quarter just past we made a small payment,” he said.

“We’re not in a position to reveal in relation to what we may pay in the future. There’s a lot of moving parts there.”

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