MINING giant Rio Tinto yesterday refused to confirm whether it had axed 25 jobs at its Clermont Mine on Monday.
But a Rio Tinto spokesman said as the company sought to reduce costs some roles would no longer be required.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union district president Steve Smyth said the cuts were all contractors' positions.
The cuts come only days after all Category 3 contractors were told on Friday they were no longer needed at the mine.
Rio Tinto also owns Emerald's Kestrel Mine, from which 10 staff from the business analysis unit, communications, administration and procurement sections were told they were surplus to requirements on Tuesday.
"Like others in the industry, Rio Tinto Coal Australia has made it clear it is facing the challenge of increasing costs in an environment of significantly lower coal prices and a high foreign exchange rate," the spokesman said.
"We are working to improve our competitiveness by actively seeking ways to reduce costs across our business, which unfortunately means some roles will no longer be required."
But union president Mr Smyth slammed Rio Tinto, saying the comments were simply excuses and the company was capitalising on the current state of the economy.
"They're making huge, enormous profits," he said.
"Things sometimes go up and down in mining."
Mr Smyth said the company had no consideration for its workforce.
The Rio Tinto spokesman said the decision to cut jobs was not taken lightly.
"Jobs are being protected wherever possible and support is being provided for employees."
RIO TINTO MINES
- Blair Athol Mine
- Clermont Mine
- Hail Creek Mine
- Kestrel Mine