Newmont trims staff at Indonesian copper mine

JAKARTA Wed Oct 3, 2012 8:36am EDT

JAKARTA Oct 3 (Reuters) - Newmont Mining Corp, the world's no.2 gold miner, plans to lay off 100 people from a workforce of 4,000 at its giant Indonesian copper and gold mine, to reduce operating costs at a time of low output, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Newmont issued the statement on job cuts at the Batu Hijau mine on Sumbawa island to quell local media reports of larger layoffs, after Reuters reported last week that the mine planned jobs cuts as it was losing $1 million a day.

"This is the final step that we carry out with a heavy heart because previous efficiency measures we have carried out have not been enough to guarantee the ongoing operation of the Batu Hijau mine," said Martiono Hadianto, the chief of Newmont's Indonesian unit.

The miner has revised down 2012 target production figures for Batu Hijau to 71,000 ounces of gold, from an earlier forecast of 114,000 ounces, and to 170.6 million pounds of copper from 192 million previously. It expects output to be similar in 2013 as it exports low grade ore from stocks.

The cost constraints may be a problem when Newmont starts wage talks in November and meant there was a potential for industrial action, the mine's manager told Reuters.

The job cuts come as thousands of industrial workers, including metal workers, demonstrated around the capital Jakarta on Wednesday to call for better conditions, part of a greater labour assertiveness in the past year.