Rio Tinto aiming to save $5 billion by end of 2014
MORE jobs could disappear after a pair of mining giants warned they were still cutting deep to save money.
Both Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton - both of which operate coal mines in Central Queensland - have used annual general meetings on Thursday to deliver the caution.
Rio in particular announced it was aiming to save $5 billion by the end of 2014 compared with its spending this year.
The target follows widespread cuts made by Rio both at corporate offices and on mine sites throughout the year.
There was little indication from the company on how it would reach these latest targets.
In a statement, Rio said it would spend less on exploration, approved projects and developing new ventures.
Chief executive Tom Albanese said the company was still in a strong position considering the state of the international economy.
But more savings were still needed.
"We are taking further tough action to roll back the unsustainable cost increases of the past few years and are maintaining a relentless focus on improving productivity," Mr Albanese said on Thursday.
Only the most profitable or worthwhile projects would be given priority.
"We have the ability to respond to changing market conditions and I am confident we have the right strategy to maximise shareholder value in the long term."
BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers and board chairman also declined to spell out where cuts would be made.
Mr Kloppers told journalists BHP had to save costs if it was to remain strong in tough conditions.
The closures, curtailments and public rephasing of projects - that's the path we want to continue down," Mr Kloppers said.
In the past 12 months, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance shut two coalmines in Central Queensland after deeming them too costly to run.
BHP still has six coking coalmines in the region including Broadmeadows, Peak Downs, Saraji, Blackwater and Crinum.
Rio Tinto still has three in the same area including Kestrel, Hail Creek and Clermont.