BHP announces iron ore retrenchments on resource sector slowdown

BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) has announced retrenchments for its iron ore operations due to tepid prices and rising costs.

Fairfax reports that although the diversified mining giant has not yet disclosed the exact number of planned retrenchments around 200 positions are likely to be lost in the upcoming round of job cuts.

The announcement follows closely on job cuts by both Rio and Xstrata (LSE:XTA) to their Australian coal operations last month, and could be a sign that iron ore is the next sector due for a spate of retrenchments.

The Australian resources sector in general and iron ore miners in particular have been hampered of late by burdensome costs and ailing spot prices for commodities. Diminishing demand from China due to slowing growth has been the chief factor behind enervated price levels.

The IMF contributed more dismal news for the Australian mining sector today, trimming Australia's growth forecast for 2013 to 3.0% from 3.5%.