JOHANNESBURG/LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) - Mining group Rio Tinto plans to almost halve the size of its London head office, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters, cutting more than 200 jobs as it tries to slash more than $5 billion in costs by the end of next year.
Rio has been reviewing high-cost office locations including London since last year, as it battles falling commodity prices.
The internal announcement said the company aimed to reduce the number of London-based jobs to 262 from 479. It also wants cut the number of Johannesburg employees to 206 from 244, after reviews of its African operations meant it needed fewer administrative posts in South Africa.
“As you are aware, one of our priorities for 2013 is to significantly reduce costs across the business,” Rio’s emailed memo to employees said. “Given the increasing volatility of our operating environment and challenging economic conditions, this is more necessary than ever.”
Rio last year cut office staff in Australia, where much of the group is managed, targeting Melbourne and closing its Sydney office.
“Like others in the industry, Rio Tinto is facing the challenge of increasing costs and is taking action to tackle this,” a Rio spokesman said on Monday.
“As a result there will be a reduction in the number of roles in London, so the company has begun a consultation process with staff.”
Rio said this month that its cost-saving push for 2013 was on target thanks to job cuts and improved productivity.