Rio Tinto to cut jobs at Queensland coal mine

Rio Tinto plans to cut jobs from its Hail Creek coal mine in Queensland as it looks to improve costs and productivity at the operation.

The move comes as coal prices hit six-year lows, forcing companies nation-wide to conduct similar reviews.

"Like others in the Australian coal mining industry, Rio Tinto is facing the challenge of increasing costs and dropping coal prices.

"We are working to improve productivity and reduce costs across our mines.

"Regrettably, this means some roles at Hail Creek Mine are no longer required as part of changes to ensure the mine is sustainable in challenging conditions.”

The spokesperson said the company was consulting those affected to provide support.

CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth said it was a difficult time for employees and their families, The Daily Mercury reported.

He said the union had already fielded a number of queries from workers.

“We're in the middle of negotiating a new agreement for Hail Creek mine too. So there's uncertainty for employees,” Smyth said.

The coal sector has seen a number of job cuts of late as prices continue to slide.

BHP Billiton subsidiary Illawarra Coal is cutting 36 jobs as part of what it calls an “organisational review” at its south coast coal mines.

Also in the Illawarra, Wollongong Coal has flagged the need to cut roles at its operations as part of an operational review.