Page last updated at 21:27 GMT, Friday, 20 February 2009

Anglo American to cut 9,000 jobs

Los Bronces copper mine in Chile
Mining companies are cutting jobs and production worldwide

Mining giant Anglo American has said it is to cut an additional 9,000 jobs as the global economic downturn hits demand for raw materials.

The losses come on top of the 10,000 job cuts that Anglo's South African unit, Anglo Platinum, had already announced earlier this month.

The job cuts follow similar moves at rivals Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

Anglo also announced a 3% fall in 2008 pre-tax profit to $8.57bn (6bn) and warned that 2009 would be tough.

A spokesman said the job cuts would be across the group's operations, which are mainly in South Africa, South America and Australia.

The world economy faces an unprecedented level of uncertainty
Cynthia Carroll, Anglo American chief executive

Mining companies have seen a dramatic turnaround in their fortunes as the downturn hits home.

A boom in the price of metals and other commodities, sustained by China's once insatiable demand for raw materials, has to come to end.

Unprecedented uncertainty

Cynthia Carroll, Anglo's chief executive, said that the effects of the economic downturn "were difficult to overstate".

"The world economy faces an unprecedented level of uncertainty," she said.

"The outlook remains poor in the near term, with expectations for continuing volatility and weakness in commodity prices."

She added that the board had decided to halt dividend payouts to shareholders to conserve cash. The credit crunch has made financing harder to obtain.

Both prices and demand for nickel, platinum, iron ore and coking coal, used in steel production, had declined significantly, the company said.

Anglo American's downbeat assessment of the industry's prospects hurt the share prices of other mining firms.

Rio Tinto shares ended 10% down, while Xstrata fell 11%.

Anglo American shares ended 17% lower at 1027 pence.

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