Former Asia Iron managing director Bill Mackenzie. Picture: Lee Griffith/The West Australian.
Former Asia Iron managing director Bill Mackenzie. Picture: Lee Griffith/The West Australian.

The axe has again fallen at Asia Iron only months after a dramatic shake-up that led to the departure of the bulk of its staff and long-term senior management.

It is understood Asia Iron has cut 10 to 12 former Forge Group employees called in to review earlier engineering and design work on its Extension Hill magnetite project. Sources suggest the decision was a result of moves to again curtail spending on the $3 billion project.

It is the second major shake-up in six months at Asia Iron.

After months of tension between its Australian management team and Chinese majority owner Chongqing Iron and Steel, the Mid West magnetite hopeful dumped the bulk of its executive team last November.

Casualties included long time managing director Bill Mackenzie and most of the executive team responsible for developing its $3 billion Extension Hill project. The rest of its project team departed in January, replaced by the Forge Group employees.

Last year Asia Iron Australia chairman Guo Deyong told the company's Australian staff its Chinese parent expected to be able to make a $US240 million equity injection into the project by February. In late March, Asia Iron said a technical team had presented positive results from the new design work to senior executives of its parent company in China.

It is understood the promised equity injection did not arrive, with limited funds made available to the new team.

Sources say the latest group of Asia Iron staff were axed this month, just after the Hong Kong-listed arm of Chongqing Iron and Steel declared a $127.8 million first-quarter operating loss.

The West Australian

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