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Anglo cuts coal workforce by 10%

Ore-loading in
the Pilbara
Sydney, Australia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 02 March 2009 – Anglo American is cutting more than 10% of its workforce at coal mines in Australia as part of an attempt to reduce costs by one-fifth this year.

Reuters reports from here  that Anglo had already mothballed its underground Aquila mine in Middlemount, and its Dawson North pit lode – both in Queensland state, and 49% owned by Mitsui Coal Holdings – as demand for steelmaking coals dropped off, driving selling prices to less than half last year’s level of around US$300 per tonne.

The Anglo Coal Australia unit revealed today that a total of 650 staff and outside contractors’ jobs would go out of a total workforce of around 5 000. Collieries across eastern Australia are slowing down or closing after years of strong growth, as steel mills worldwide turn down production.

A 50:50 joint venture between Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corporation and BHP Billiton – the world’s largest coking coal producer – is reducing output by as much as 15% in Australia.

Australia’s Rio Tinto Group/Plc, Canada’s Teck Cominco Limited, U.S.-based Peabody Energy, London-listed Xstrata Plc, and Australia’s Macarthur Coal Limited have also announced reductions in coking coal output.