Iluka slashes jobs, output
THE minerals sands miner Iluka will cut production after tough trading conditions led to a slump in revenue in 2012.
Iluka's Eneabba operations in Western Australia will be idled, costing 65 jobs. Other operations in South Australia, Victoria and in the United States will be shut or operate on reduced rosters.
The company said the ageing WA mine had been reactivated in 2011 when demand for zircon and titanium dioxide was high.
"With challenging economic conditions globally, demand for these products has reduced," said Iluka's general manager of Australian operations, Steve Wickham.
He said Iluka informed customers and employees last year that it would take appropriate measures - such as cutting production and costs - to match production to demand.
Full year sales fell 30.4 per cent to $1.07 billion, and slumped by 58 per cent in the December quarter to $182.5 million.
It blamed a "cyclical low" for the lack of demand for its products, which are used in ceramics and paints. Prices have fallen by 25 to 35 per cent as demand has fallen due to weak property markets, especially in China and the US.
Iluka shares responded positively to news of the job cuts, rising 35¢ to $9.73 on Thursday. But they are still half the price of the $18.88 they fetched in January last year.