UPDATE 2-BHP eyeing more iron ore mining jobs cuts in Australia
* BHP says is pushing to become more cost efficient
* Move comes amid softening outlook for iron ore sector
* BHP declines to confirm report up to 3,000 jobs could go (Adds details of job cuts, closures in other mining sectors)
By James Regan
SYDNEY, June 24 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton is looking at more job cuts at its flagship Australian iron ore division as a way to reduce costs, as ore prices slump and pressure mounts to rein in spending.
The possibility of more cuts comes as thousands of jobs in Australia's once-booming mining sector disappear in response to cooling demand growth, mainly from China, for imported industrial materials such as iron ore, coal and copper.
A BHP spokeswoman said it was not possible to put a number on how many jobs could be targeted and declined to confirm an Australian Broadcasting Corp radio report that the figure could reach 3,000.
"Iron ore miners such as BHP are in the early stages of going through what the coal miners have been experiencing," said Gavin Wendt, a mining analyst for MineLife in Sydney. "In effect, they are being asked to make do with less."
More than 12,000 jobs in Australian coal mining have been lost since 2012, including those from BHP's mines, as the industry combats falling prices and stiff competition from countries like Indonesia. Continuación...