BHP mulls further job cuts

BHP Billiton to cut over 3,000 iron ore jobs in AustraliaBHP Billiton’s (ASX, NYSE:BHP) employees are bracing for further job losses at the miner’s iron ore division in Australia as it studies consultants' recommendations to reduce costs, including cuts of up to 20% its 16,000 people workforce.

More than 500 jobs have already been axed from BHP's flagship iron ore division in recent months, including 100 from the mining giant's iron ore headquarters in Perth, as well as 170 from the Mt Whaleback mine in the Pilbara.

The fresh cuts come as thousands of jobs in Australia’s once-booming mining sector disappear in response to cooling demand growth, mainly from China, for imported industrial materials such as iron ore, coal and copper.

A BHP spokeswoman told Australian Broadcast Corporation that it was not possible to put a number on how many jobs will be targeted, declining to confirm reports that the figure could reach 3,000.

She also refused to confirm rumours of over 100 jobs cuts coming up at BHP’s Port Hedland port operations.

Chief executive Andrew Mackenzie last month said the company’s overall capital spending had fallen by 25%, as planned last year, and would decline again in the 2015 financial year. Increased iron ore supply from major miners in Australia and Brazil has overwhelmed Chinese demand, leading some miners to boost discounts for lower grade ores.

The world’s largest mining company is still expanding its iron ore operations after late last year commissioning its Jimblebar mine in the Pilbara iron ore belt.