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Rio: Chinalco deal saves jobs
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Australia's major mining company Rio Tinto has urged the Australian government to approve its deal with China's major aluminium producer Chinalco to save thousands of jobs in Australia.

The Australian reported yesterday that Rio had told the government that at least 2,150 jobs could be lost in Queensland if the deal failed.

Rio's US$19.5 billion deal, struck last week, with Chinalco requires approval from shareholders, the government and the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Chinalco's investment would allow Rio to expand its projects, strengthen the company's balance sheet and reduce debt. More importantly, the approval will preserve thousands of jobs in the country.

According to The Australian, the contractor and employee cuts would add to Rio's 14,000 targeted global job cuts, meaning as many as 5,000 could be slashed from its Australian workforce if the deal fell through.

Last week, Rio said it had reached half of its targeted employee cuts, but refused to say how many jobs had been slashed in Australia and how many had been planned.

So far, Rio has announced 660 job cuts at mines in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. It was understood to have cut about 200 more computer contractors nationwide.

(Xinhua News Agency February 19, 2009)

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