Rio makes further cuts in Africa

Plunging uranium prices have forced Rio Tinto to cut 17 per cent of the workforce at its Roessing uranium mine in Namibia.

AFP reports Roressing said 276 of the 1592 permanent jobs would be cut, with managing director Chris Salisbury claiming there was “no alternative” to the reductions.

“Since the Japanese tsunami in 2011, uranium demand has remained depressed and the uranium price has fallen by more than 36 per cent,” he said.

“With the utility sector in Japan essentially shut down, there is little prospect of a turnaround in the near term.”

Roessing is the world's third-larges producer of uranium oxide, and the mine has struggled to meet production targets and turn a profit over the past few years.

Earlier this year UBS analysts claimed Rio had run into significant problems on its Mozambique coal assets, with lower quality deposits and poor infrastructure hurting performance.

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