South32 has started another round of job cuts

Paula Bronstein /Getty Images

South32, the BHP spinoff, plans to cut more jobs and is looking at suspending production at its unprofitable nickel mine in Colombia.

A short time ago, its shares were down 1.2% to $1.47.

The cost-cutting, in response to falling commodity prices, continues with plans to drop an additional 270 jobs and leave 144 more vacant roles unfilled.

The company in February announced 1100 job cuts and says it’s on track to reduce costs by $US300 million and capital expenditure by
$US218 million in the 2016 financial year.

“When we planned the demerger, we never envisaged seeing prices like we have,” CEO Graham Kerr told Dow Jones in an interview.

At the Cerro Matoso nickel mine in Colombia, workers say they intend to strike over a dispute on wage rises and South32’s plans to cut the work force.

“If that means in the end we have to basically go through a strike and the operation needs to go into care and maintenance, well we are not afraid to do that,” Kerr said.

Nickel prices have dropped 70% over the last five years.

South32’s asset portfolio is spread across five countries and includes alumina, aluminium, coal, nickel, manganese, silver, lead and zinc.

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