Rio Tinto ( RTP) is cutting 705 jobs as it makes cuts in response to depressed demand for alumina and aluminum.

Rio Tinto Alcan Bauxite and Alumina President Steve Hodgson said at current prices, 70% of the industry was operating at a financial loss. The Australian mining company's Rio Tinto Alcan unit said it will slow construction of its Yarwun alumina refinery expansion in Gladstone and curtail annual bauxite production at its Weipa mine to 15 million tones, from 19.4 million tonnes in 2008.

The moves will include the elimination of 100 permanent jobs at Weipa and approximately 570 contractor roles in Gladstone. Additionally, about 35 permanent jobs will be lost from the Yarwun refinery and at Boyne Smelters also in Gladstone. Hodgson said cost reduction and cash conservation initiatives were being implemented across the company.

"We are strongly focused on minimizing costs and conserving cash, and this work is ongoing in our operations as we continue to closely monitor market conditions," he said in a company press release.

Rio Tinto shares were falling 5.6% to $125.35.

Rio Tinto Alcan's troubles could spell bad news for aluminum producer Alcoa ( AA), which is set to report earnings after the bell. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect a loss of 56 cents a share.
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