RIO Tinto chief executive of aluminium Alfredo Barrios' promise to shareholders to "aggressively drive costs out of the business" at Gladstone alumina refineries appears to be continuing.
Talking to investors back in December Mr Barrios explained the company was going through difficult times.
With the global price of aluminium down to US$205 per tonne from an average of US$330 per tonne of recent years, both Rio's Gladstone alumina refineries are running at a loss, he said.
Rio Tinto looked at contractors first with a re-tendering process that was expected to save about $10million or the equivalent of 750,000 work hours.
A labour hire contractor, who has worked on site at Yarwun for more than two years, told the Observer he now had just a fortnight left until his contract finished.
He didn't want us to name him because he hoped he'd still be able to secure more work for Rio Tinto when aluminium prices increased again; he said most contractors were already off site.
Another Rio Tinto Yarwun worker said everyone was just waiting for results from a recent review to learn if there would be any redundancies.
A Rio Tinto spokesperson yesterday confirmed an "organisational review" was underway at Yarwun "due to the challenging market conditions".
"Employees will be kept informed as the review progresses but it is expected this will take some time," a written statement to the Observer read.
The Observer understands Rio Tinto has brought in consultancy company, McKinsey and Co, with a round of redundancies at QAL last week.
That was non-operational, support staff, and The Observer understands QAL management hopes to achieve any further redundacies through natural attrition.
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