RIO Tinto has warned it may cut more jobs from its aluminium and coal businesses as it seeks to rein in "unsustainable" cost increases.
In an investor update, the mining giant also says it expects growth in China's steel demand to peak at around one billion tonnes by 2030.
While prospects for the US and European economies remain uncertain, Rio Tinto is "cautiously optimistic" about China.
Rio Tinto has refused to confirm how many jobs will go as it plans to slash costs further at its global mining operations.
The company is targeting more than $US5 billion in cost savings from reducing operating and support expenses over the next two years.
Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese said the company was trying to rein in the "unsustainable" cost rises of the past few years.
He says the cost cuts are most likely to come at its Australian coal operations, and its aluminium business.
"Any business that's been in ups and downs of cycles recognises that difficult decisions need to be made," Mr Albanese said.
"We will treat those difficult decisions with the necessary respect both to the individuals and to the communities that they may operate in.
"We will engage at the individual community level. We will not provide a number (of job losses)."
Mr Albanese said the company was looking more closely at the cost of any new coal projects in Australia before proceeding.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.