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Mining giant Anglo American to slash 19,000 jobs

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As part of a cost-cutting drive, British mining group Anglo American has announced that it will cut 19,000 jobs in 2009 - around 10 percent of its global workforce - after its net earnings fell 29 percent last year.


AFP - British mining group Anglo American said Friday it would cut 19,000 jobs this year after reporting a 29-percent fall in 2008 net earnings to 5.2 billion dollars (4.1 billion euros) because of the global downturn.

The job losses were in response to sharp falls in commodity prices brought on by a contraction in the global economy, Anglo American said in an annual results statement.

"As we begin 2009, the economic outlook remains weak, with limited visibility and we are continuing to experience volatility and downward pressure on commodity prices," said Chief Executive Cynthia Carroll in the release.

"Against this backdrop, we have acted decisively to position the group through the downturn, including pulling back planned production growth, reducing the size of our workforce by 19,000 by the end of 2009 in line with our revised production and growth plans and further cost cutting throughout the group."

The cuts, amounting to ten percent of the company's global workforce, are part of an economy drive to save 2.0 billion dollars a year between now and 2011.

Revenues fell 7.6 percent to 32.964 billion dollars last year, while the group added that it had suspended shareholder dividend payments and will not give a dividend for 2008.

The pronounced worldwide downturn has slashed commodity demand in the key automototive and construction sectors -- and in crucial emerging markets.

"The breadth and severity of the global economic downturn and its impact on growth rates in key sectors and economies are difficult to overstate," Carroll added.

"From global automotive production to construction activity in emerging markets, there was a marked contrast between the first and second halves of 2008, when commodity prices fell sharply."

The group had already announced in December that it would reduce its 2009 investment program by half to 4.5 billion dollars because of global economic uncertainty and weak metal prices.

Carroll, who has headed the Anglo-South African firm since March 2007, added that the group was upbeat despite the uncertain economic climate.

"Despite the current economic environment, we have confidence in the fundamentals and long term outlook for our core commodities," she said.

Anglo American is a diversified enterprise, producing platinum, coal and base metals such as copper, zinc and nickel. It also has a 45-percent stake in De Beers, the world's largest diamond company.

Anglo is the largest mining company in South Africa and generates about two thirds of its earnings there.


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