Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) continues the recent spate of mining sector retrenchments with job cuts at its Clermont thermal coal mine in Australia's north-east.
According to the Australian a large number of both employees and contractors have already been informed of their retrenchment with a total loss of 84 workers from Clermont so far, although Rio Tinto is remaining mum on the total number of cuts.
The Clermont mine was officially opened only two years ago, and was slated to become Australia's largest thermal coal producer with an eventual annual production target of 12.2 million metric tons per annum.
The move is part of a pronounced cost-cutting trend within the Australian mining sector of late, with coal and iron-ore players hit especially hard by falling commodities prices and burdensome cost gains.
Cost-cutting have also been further spurred by the state of Queensland's surprise announced of a hike in mining taxes.
Rio's Clermont retrenchments follows a wave of recent precedents set by Vale (NYSE:VALE), BHP (NYSE:BHP) and Xstrata (LSX:XTA), all of whom announced lay offs at Australian coal operations earlier this month.