Iluka Resources last week flagged 20 job losses in the South West as part of production and cost cutting measures, including the “idling” of part of its Capel operations and closure of its Tutunup South mine.
Iluka managing director David Robb said the company’s actions were the result of weak market conditions in 2012 which resulted in production volumes exceeding sales.
“While measures were taken to curtail production in 2012, prudent planning for a gradual recovery in demand through 2013 means further actions to reduce production and lower costs are necessary, ” he said.
The company announced it would cut 200 jobs in Australia before the end of the financial year, with as many as 100 contract positions also affected.
Iluka’s South West operations comprise mineral sands mining and processing as well as synthetic rutile operations.
The Tutunup South mine produces chloride ilmenite, used as feedstock for the synthetic rutile kilns.
Iluka has two of the kilns in Capel which produce synthetic rutile products. These are exported through Bunbury and Geraldton ports and sold exclusively as feedstocks into the titanium pigment and titanium metal markets.
Mr Robb said the company would draw on existing finished product, or process existing concentrate stocks to meet most, if not all, market demand in 2013.
“While sales volumes in 2013 are as a result expected to be stronger than 2012, prioritising cash flow and balance sheet conservatism has meant fixed costs have had to be reduced, ” he said.
“A significant proportion of these costs relate to direct and indirect employees and so, regrettably, a significant number of Iluka employees, as well as contracting staff, will lose their jobs.”
He said staff had been briefed and would be offered help.The job losses comes a month after Iluka announced it would mothball its Eneabba operations.
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