UPDATE 2-Australia's Fortescue tells miners to work more as iron ore price sinks

lunes 13 de abril de 2015 23:01 GYT

* Fortescue to move to two-weeks on, one-week off roster

* Analysts say small step in right direction

* Company looking to cut costs as iron ore trades below $50/T

* Move comes after smaller rival Atlas says to halt output (Adds analyst comment)

SYDNEY, April 14 (Reuters) - Australia's Fortescue Metals Group Ltd will change its roster to increase the time workers spend at mines, as the world's fourth largest iron ore producer rushes to reduce costs in the face of plunging prices for the steelmaking ingredient.

The change means workers employed in remote Outback mines will be flown out on charter planes once every two weeks rather than every eight days under a system known as 'fly in-fly out'. Off-duty time in each roster cycle will increase to one week from six days, the miner said on Tuesday.

The slump in iron ore to 10-year lows is hammering profits at Fortescue and other producers, forcing deep cuts in spending and prompting a "thorough organisational review" of operations, Chief Executive Nev Power said in a statement.

"While we would prefer not to have to change what has been a successful and differentiating roster for Fortescue, we are taking steps in response to the threat of oversupply in the market over the medium term."

Analysts said the move was a first step by Fortescue to try and maintain a hold on profits shrinking in step with iron ore prices.   Continuación...