Staff cuts at BMA continue indefinitely

THE BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance will continue to axe management and support positions in its Brisbane and Moranbah offices, despite BHP Billiton’s Queensland Coal division staging a dramatic turnaround in profitability over the past 12 months.
Staff cuts at BMA continue indefinitely Staff cuts at BMA continue indefinitely Staff cuts at BMA continue indefinitely Staff cuts at BMA continue indefinitely Staff cuts at BMA continue indefinitely

Lau Caruana

The resources giant will be changing job descriptions and decimating support service functions such as human resources management.

A BMA spokeswoman told sister publication International Longwall News that at this stage, the company could not provide a figure on how many employees, but there would be "different changes required in each support function in the coming months"

"As part of ongoing work to secure the competitiveness of the business, BMA has briefed employees about a reorganisation of the functions that support its mining operations," she told ILN.

"This will include changes to the nature and number of roles needed to support the operations and, as a result, there will be reductions in workforce based in Brisbane and Central Queensland.

"The reorganisation will be implemented over the coming months and follows a thorough company-wide review of all operations and functions supporting BMA's operations to reduce costs and improve productivity. We acknowledge this is a difficult time for employees and the BMA is working closely with impacted employees."

Last month BMA revealed that it would slash more employees from its Queensland operations, cutting 230 jobs at the Saraji mine in the Bowen Basin.

The coal mining giant - which last month closed its coal lab at Gladstone - is taking the steps in response to softening coking coal prices, although its Queensland operations posted improved productivity in the six months to December.

BMA asset president Lucas Dow said: "A recent review of the Saraji mine by the company concluded that a fundamental improvement in the cost base of the open-cut operation is required to ensure that it remains competitive.

"BMA has made a number of changes across its operations to reduce costs and increase productivity to ensure that our operations are profitable and sustainable."

BHP Billiton's strict cost-cutting regime is paying off, with its Queensland coal joint venture with Mitsubishi slicing 25% off its unit cash costs.

For the six months to December, BHP's coal division reported revenues of $US4.7 billion and profit from operations of $510 million. This compares favourably with the corresponding period in 2012, when coal made no contribution to profit, despite higher revenues of $4.9 billion.

"There is no better example of the renewed discipline that we are applying at an operational level than Queensland Coal, where our focus on contractor and maintenance costs significantly improved the profitability of the operation," the company said.