BHP Billiton Axes 700 Coal Jobs Due To Declining Prices
As the iron ore and coal markets continue to offer declining prices, BHP Billiton has decided to cut around seven percent of its total workforce from its metallurgical coal business in central Queensland. The coal site is a joint alliance between BHP and Mitsubishi Corp in Queensland.
The 700 jobs are being terminated not just because of declining prices, but high operating costs as well. This comes in contrast to the iron ore sector, where operating costs are still low enough to make a profit, despite the five-year low of pricing per tonne.
"The coal industry continues to face challenging market conditions and had to act to ensure the long-term viability of the business," the BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) said in a statement.
Although it doesn’t get reported on with the urgency that the iron ore sector does, coking coal prices are trading at their lowest levels in seven years. A main cause of this is supply currently outpaces demand. Just this year, prices have fallen 20 percent.
"When we started looking at cost restructuring we were around $150 a ton, coming down from $200, and now we are down around $110," said Dean Dalla Valle, president of BHP’s coal division.
"And we've had a pretty sticky forex rate in this country. This all follows a period of pretty inflationary cost growth over the past four or five years."
One of the main causes for the drop in market is the manufacturing industry in China is slowing down, demanding less and less of the commodity. Despite this, Australian miners continue to invest billions of dollars into iron ore and coal. Despite the 700 job cuts, BHP Billiton is sticking to its guidance of increasing metallurgical coal output by four percent to a record 47 million tons in 2015.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.