News Wrap

IN News Wrap this morning: Anglo ‘reaping benefits’ of diversified base; BHP to axe more iron ore jobs; and WA rating hostage to iron ore.

Kristie Batten

Anglo ‘reaping benefits’ of diversified base

In an interview with The Australian, Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani said the downturn in coal and iron ore prices had reinforced his faith in the mining giant’s diversified asset base, in contrast to the efforts by BHP ¬Billiton to jettison its non-core commodities.

Cutifani said a “tough” outlook for iron ore and coal contrasted with the improved conditions in other Anglo American commodities such as diamonds and platinum.

As a result he said he had ruled out Anglo following a similar path to BHP, which last month announced it would spin off its aluminium, manganese, nickel and silver operations and some of its coal mines into a new vehicle.

“The diversity in our portfolio is working for us today. Everyone else is struggling in iron ore and coal in particular, but we’ve got a diamonds business that is going really well, our platinum portfolio looks like it’s starting to rise from the ashes, and nickel,” he said.

“While, like everyone, we’re suffering a little in the bulks, we’re doing very well in other areas.”

BHP to axe more iron ore jobs

BHP Billiton won't confirm reports jobs have been axed at its Nelson Point operations in Port Hedland, but says some staff in the Pilbara town will be made redundant in coming months, reports AAP.

The ABC said on Wednesday it understood 35 people got the chop last week, but a company spokeswoman said it had already flagged its goal of "reducing costs through the more effective procurement of goods and services and people-related productivity initiatives".

"In the coming months, some employees based in Port Hedland will be impacted by changes to the structure and size of the workforce," she said in an emailed statement.

"We will discuss these changes directly with impacted employees, who will be offered redeployment opportunities as and where possible."

BHP Billiton has cut hundreds of jobs from its iron ore business this year, including 170 positions at the company's Mount Whaleback iron ore mine in the Pilbara and 100 roles at its iron ore division headquarters in Perth.

WA rating hostage to iron ore

Deutsche Bank economists have warned the plunging iron ore price could put the Western Australian government's credit rating at further risk as Standard & Poor's prepares to release a new round of credit assessments of state governments in coming weeks, according to The West Australian.

Deutsche economist Phil O'Donaghoe said the impact of low iron ore prices on state revenue projections would likely be a key focus of the next S&P review of WA's credit rating.

S&P was the first agency to strip WA of its AAA credit rating last September, criticising the government for lacking a "convincing plan" to return the State Budget to surplus.

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