BHP Billiton Worsley Alumina has made 12 employees redundant.
The Collie Mail was told the job losses occurred in “research and development” but has been unable to confirm in exactly what area they occurred.
External affairs and communications manager Andres Landerretche said “there have been a number of redundancies” but was unwilling to comment further.
Losing even one, two or three jobs was sad but redundancies were not surprising in view of the difficulties facing the refinery, Mr Landerretche said.
Management was facing huge constraints with the high Australian dollar, high domestic costs and falling commodity prices.
The cost of expanding the WA project blew out from $US1.9 billion to $US3 billion.
In early February, Deutsche Bank analysts said BHP may consider selling about $10 billion of aluminum, nickel and coal assets, including Worsley.