Slowing demand from China and falling prices for iron ore has BHP Billiton considering large jobs cuts at its flagship Australian iron ore division, Reuters reported.
A report from the Australian Broadcasting Corp. placed the number of job losses as high as 3,000. A BHP Billiton spokesperson would not confirm that number, but it is believed that the cuts could be substantial.
More than 12,000 jobs in Australian coal mining have been lost since 2012, including those from BHP’s mines, as the industry combats falling prices and stiff competition from countries like Indonesia.
BHP, the world's biggest miner, employs about 16,000 people in its iron ore division. Earlier this year, it said 170 jobs would go at its Whaleback Mine in the Pilbara iron ore belt. A further 100 people have been let go at the division's Perth headquarters, Reuters reported.
Iron ore prices have dropped more than 30 percent this year due to slowing demand growth in China, the main market for Australian ore.
Rio Tinto has said its Gove Alumina refinery in the country's north can no longer operate profitably and will close. Alcoa Inc is due stop production from its Point Henry aluminum smelter near Melbourne in August.