Rio Tinto plans to restructure its Rossing uranium mine in Namibia and may cut up to 276 jobs as it seeks to turn around the loss-making operation.
The miner said the cuts at Rossing, which has been battling with low demand, a weak uranium price and high costs, would affect roles across the organisation, including management and supervisors, but most would be in operations and maintenance.
“The flat outlook for price and increasing input prices (electricity and water in particular) now means that the company must reluctantly look to further reduce costs by reducing the number of roles in the company,” Rio Tinto said in a statement on Friday.
In the year to Dec. 31 Rossing recorded an operational loss of 474 million Namibian dollars ($53.5 million), despite cost cuts, better ore grades and a 26 percent rise in production to 2,699 tonnes.
Rossing, like other uranium producers, has been hit by a slump in demand for the fuel since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. The drop in demand has resulted in a 36 percent fall in the price of uranium, the company said.
“With the utility sector in Japan essentially shut down, there is little prospect of a turnaround in the near term,” it added.