Rio slashes staff at Argyle diamond mine

Rio Tinto has announced it will slash staff positions by almost a fifth at its Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia.

According to the West Australian Rio hopes to dispense with up to 80 members of its 500-strong staff.

The company commenced employee discussions last week with Rio expected to target mid-level managers while leaving the operational and mining teams intact.

The retrenchments are believed to be part of cost cutting measures in preparation for either the sale of the mine or its public listing.

This marks the first major initiative undertaken by new mine head Kim Truter, who was installed by Rio in July following the announcement it would be offloading its diamonds division.

In March Rio commenced efforts to sell its diamonds operations, encompassing mines in Australia, Canada, Zimbabwe and India, after the division logged an AUD$38 million loss in the previous financial year and the Argyle mine's slated $2.2 billion expansion found itself fraught with problems.

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