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MineOnline News - Severe mining downturn forces Anglo American to slash jobs and sell assets

MORE Queensland coal jobs are in doubt after global mining company Anglo American said it would sack 53,000 of its workers around the world and sell off a swag of its assets as the mining downturn hits its lowest point.

While predicting an even tougher six months ahead, the company said it will move from 151,000 employees to about 98,000 after previously shedding about 10,000 people in its first wave of massive job cuts.

The London-based company was hit with a $US3 billion ($A4.1 billion) loss for the first six months which foreshadows a nightmare reporting season for Australian mining companies.

Its counterpart, BHP Billiton, has also seen its share price plunge from above $40 at the peak of the mining boom to $25.27 last week following more writedowns and price impacts and the closure of in Crinum mine in central Queensland next year. Other miners are in similar trouble, particularly those involved in iron ore.

Anglo has not detailed where the jobs will go but it has a coal office in Brisbane and said losses will occur in its regional headquarters.

It also has a handful of coal mines in Australia including Moranbah North, Capcoal, Foxleigh, Dawson and Callide in Queensland and Drayton in NSW.

Dawson and Foxleigh have already been slated for sale if Anglo can find a buyer.

About 12,000 jobs have already gone from the coal sector and an upturn in the near future appears unlikely.

Anglo’s chief executive Mark Cutifani said the challenges for the company were considerable and prices were continuing to deteriorate but the transformation of the company was progressing.

He said most of the coal assets were cash positive and the company was still pulling costs out of the Foxleigh mine which is part of Capcoal.

“We will make tough calls. At the end of the day if two or three projects are not able to be sold we will close them if they are losing money.

“I expect the operational turnaround to generate $US1.2 billion of underlying earnings before tax over the next 18 months, in addition to the $US1.7 billion already delivered,’’ he said.

“Having defined our portfolio and significantly improved operational performance now is the right time to accelerate the right-sizing of the organisation that supports the future of the business.

Anglo is targeting 14 of its projects around the world for sale and a $500 million cost saving through the reduction of 6000 overhead and indirect roles. Overall, it expects to shed 35 per cent of its staff.

“If you don’t touch product you are an overhead,’’ Mr Cutifani said.