Rio Tinto announces job cuts at Kestrel coal mine in Queensland, Australia

1 September 2014 (Last Updated September 1st, 2014 18:30)

Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto is cutting around 100 jobs at its Kestrel coal mine in Queensland, with an aim to save costs amid tough conditions for the Australian coal industry.

Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto is cutting around 100 jobs at its Kestrel coal mine in Queensland, with an aim to save costs amid tough conditions for the Australian coal industry.

Located 40km north-east of Emerald, the Kestrel project is the only underground coal mine operated by the company.

Rio Tinto spokesperson said: "The Australian coal mining industry is facing extremely challenging conditions, with prices continuing to decline through 2014 and the Australian dollar remaining strong.

"We have worked to significantly reduce costs and improve productivity across all of Rio Tinto's Australian coal mines, but still more needs to be done.

"We have worked to significantly reduce costs and improve productivity across all of Rio Tinto's Australian coal mines, but still more needs to be done."

"We will be consulting with all employees about these changes and providing support for those affected."

Last year, the Kestrel mine underwent a $2bn expansion, which extended the mine life by 20 years and increased production to six million tonnes of hard coking coal a year.

However, high costs, taxes and strong currency in the recent times have forced the company to close more mine and cut jobs this year.

Rio Tinto Energy CEO Harry Keynon-Slaney previously said: "The big established and high-quality resource bases where there are efficient and effective operations will have to continue this relentless cost drive; they will probably survive.

"There are going to be some operations that are challenged."

As part of its cost savings initiative, Rio Tinto recently announced job cuts at its Hail Creek mine in central Queensland in May this year and sold its 50.1% stake in the Clermont mine in central Queensland to GS Coal, a company jointly owned by Glencore and Sumitomo Corporation, for $1.015bn in June.

Energy