MULTI-NATIONAL miner Rio Tinto has sounded a warning that tough times are far from over.
Earlier this week, HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said that rising coal prices would likely mean the end to job cuts in the industry.
However, Rio Tinto's latest operations review, released on Tuesday, suggested more cost-cutting to come.
Rio broke its iron ore production records but two of its Queensland coal mines hit stumbling blocks due to maintenance at Hail Creek and shutdowns at Kestrel as part of its expansion.
The two mines - both near Mackay in Central Queensland - contributed to an 11% fall in hard coking coal production in 2012 compared to the year before.
Some slack in semi-soft and thermal coal was made up by Rio's operations by its Clermont mine and others in New South Wales.
Mr Albanese said in a statement that Clermont would continue to "ramp up" but more had to be done to save money.
"Markets remain volatile but our business continues to perform well," he said.
"In response to lower coal prices, a high Australian dollar and high input costs impacting the coal industry in Australia, Rio Tinto is actively reducing controllable costs in this business."
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