Rio Tinto flags Oyu Tolgoi job cuts

Miner says deteriorating industry conditions behind move; adds a board member.

Rio Tinto (RIO) will cut jobs at its Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia as deteriorating industry conditions and continued market volatility weigh on the miner, The Australian Financial Review reports.

According to the newspaper, an internal email to staff from Oyu Tolgoi president Craig Kinnell said the it would remove a number of roles from the operation following a cost cutting review.

"Workforce reductions are part of the lifecycle of a mining business," Mr Kinnell wrote, according to the AFR.

"Given where we are in the lifecycle of our project, and the urgent need to reduce our costs, it is critical to the success of the business to address this now."

It is unclear how many of the estimated 7,000 Oyu Tolgoi employees will be affected.

Separately, former cabinet secretary in John Howard's coalition government Michael L'Estrange is joining the board of mining giant Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis said Professor L'Estrange brought a wealth of expertise in foreign policy, international relations and trade to the board.

Professor L'Estrange, who will join Rio Tinto's board on September 1, was also secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2005 to 2009.

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