Fortescue Metals, Evolution join list of miners cutting jobs

More jobs are being cut from the Australian mining industry, with mines owned by Fortescue Metals Group and gold producer Evolution Mining the latest to shed workers.

More jobs are being cut from the Australian mining industry, with mines owned by Fortescue Metals Group and gold producer Evolution Mining the latest to shed workers.

About 100 contractors employed by engineering firm Downer EDI will cease working at Fortescue's Christmas Creek iron ore operation in Western Australia over the next few days, after changes to processing equipment on site.

Fortescue has recently been upgrading its processing equipment at Christmas Creek, and the improvements mean that certain other purification methods are no longer required.

A spokesman from Downer EDI said about 100 of the 1200 contractors on site will be made redundant.

A spokesman for Fortescue said the changes were linked to the recent processing upgrades.

"Downer and Fortescue are working together to achieve maximum operational efficiency from full production and as a result there will be a reduction in the number of personnel required by Downer," he said.

Like most mining services companies, Downer has been enduring a tough time recently as mining companies scale back their workloads and try to reset contracts at lower prices that reflect the current climate.

BHP Billiton is understood to also be talking with its Pilbara iron ore contractors in a bid to bring down costs, and has already made numerous contractor changes on its coal operations in eastern Australia.

The gold sector is also struggling under a recent price slump, and on Thursday Australia's fourth biggest listed gold producer revealed a host of changes to reflect the more austere business environment.

Like many other miners, Evolution said it had cut back mining of high-cost ounces, had sought to optimise its mining fleet and was reviewing all spending.

It also said it had reduced the number of shifts worked at its Edna May mine, made some workers from its Pajingo mine redundant, and was also clamping down on its number of white-collar workers. Evolution's announcements were not all bad, with the company confirming it had met gold production forecasts.

After suffered steep declines between April and June, many ASX-listed gold producers including Newcrest Mining have recovered strongly in recent days.

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