South32 to cut workers by close to a fifth

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South32 has announced a major restructuring, with plans to cut more than 800 positions from its Australian workforce, as its revenue falls close to a third.

The demerged assets of BHP have announced a plan to slash its operating costs in an attempt to weather the current downturn.

It labelled its Worsley Alumina, Illawarra Coal, and Australian manganese assets as those of focus for Australia.

At Worsley South32 plans to reduce its headcount by 15 per cent, resulting in the cutting of 390 employees and contractors, from 2540 to 2150 by 2017.

It also plans to reduce capital expenditure at the site by 34 per cent down to US$41 million, slashing all-in costs by a quarter to US$200 per tonne in the same period.

For its coal assets in the Illawarra, South32 has a number of plans to restructure the operation.

These include reducing headcount by 14 per cent, slashing at 300 fulltime and contractor positions.

It will also ‘reorganise’ its mines into two operations.

Despite the storm hitting the manganese price, which has seen a number of operators fold or shutter mines, South32 is taking fairly measured action at its GEMCO operations.

It has slightly lowered guidance by four per cent for FY17, revising its ramp up of its Premium Concentrate Ore project.

The miner will only cut its workforce by eight per cent, cutting 82 employee and contractor positions.

However it will take major action on its all-in costs, seeing to slash them by close to half, down to US$1.56/dmtu.

At its Cannington operations South32 plans to reduce the workforce by 17 per cent, cutting 170 positions.

These massive cuts across the board, with a number of positions also being removed from its South African assets, came as the miner records a massive loss after tax of US$1.75 billion.

This was compounded by its underlying earnings from continuing operations being a massive 94 per cent down year on year, to only US$26 million from US$460 million in the previous corresponding period.