October 18, 2019 / 7:38 AM / 2 months ago

Syrah Resources to cut jobs, output at Mozambique graphite project

(Reuters) - Syrah Resources will cut 30% of the jobs at its flagship project Balama graphite operation in Mozambique due to weak Chinese demand hitting prices for flake graphite, the Australian miner said on Friday.

Syrah, for which China is a big market, is the latest casualty of a fall in demand for battery raw materials which has also prompted Australian lithium miners to cut supply.

The miner said full-year output in 2020 for Balama, which stood at 137,000 tonnes for the first nine months of this year, would fall to 120,000-150,000 tonnes.

In addition to cutting jobs, the miner said it plans to restructure its executive committee.

“We aim to continue to capitalize on our production improvement plan with the ability to quickly ramp up production in response to market conditions,” CEO Shaun Verner said referring to the Balama project.

Its planned cost cuts are expected to reap benefit from January 2020, Syrah said in a statement.

In September the miner signaled a likely fall in fourth-quarter output citing low demand stemming from cuts in Chinese electric vehicle subsidies.

Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely

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