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Rio Tinto To Slash Jobs at Australian Mines

RIO Tinto Ltd said yesterday that it would cut more than 700 jobs at Australian mines due to a drop in aluminum demand and prices.

The miner said it would also slow expansion of a refinery at one mine and cut this year's production of bauxite - the chief mineral used to produce aluminum - by 22.7 percent to 15 million metric tons, from 19.4 million metric tons last year.

London-based Rio Tinto, the world's third-largest miner, has been slashing output and jobs worldwide to lower its debt as the global financial crisis erodes demand and prices. The latest cuts are on top of its announcement in January that it would shed 14,000 jobs worldwide, about 12.5 percent of its workforce.

Steve Hodgson, head of Rio Tinto's Alcan bauxite and alumina business, said the depressed state of the market due to the global economic crisis meant "tough decisions" were necessary.


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