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Xstrata, Rio Tinto to restructure coal operations in Australia

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Mining companies Xstrata and Rio Tinto have outlined their plans to restructure their coal operations in Australia amidst the faltering commodity prices and rising operating costs.

Xstrata plans to consolidate its operations in the states of New South Wales and Queensland under single division and management structure - Xstrata Coal Australia.

The restructure is expected to result in the loss of nearly 100 jobs due to the closure of Xstrata's Brisbane office.

The losses would be in addition to the 600 employees laid off by the company in 2012. Rio Tinto, meanwhile, will also reduce its headcount by 100 jobs as a part of its long-term strategy to revive its coal business in the country.

Brisbane Times quoted Rio Tinto spokesperson as saying that the decision was taken to help the company tackle the difficult conditions and to remain competitive in the global market.

Restructuring of operations by Rio and Xstrata comes on the back of Brazilian company Vale deciding to close some of its coal operations in the country.

Vale appointed Bank of America Merrill Lynch to facilitate the sale of its minority stakes in two Australian coal projects - the Belvedere and Eagle Downs deposits.