OREANDA-NEWS. Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Friday said it was merging its copper and coal divisions in an ongoing cost-cutting drive.

The world's second biggest miner, which has increased production and reduced costs amid a plunge in commodity prices, said assets would be streamlined into four units -- iron ore, aluminium, copper and coal, diamonds and minerals.

Uranium would be added to the diamonds and minerals portfolio, it added.

"These changes are part of our continuing business transformation to reduce costs, simplify and strengthen our company and deliver sustainable value for shareholders," Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said in a statement.

Rio Tinto did not say if there would be any job losses as part of the restructure, but it is understood that the miner is set to cut several hundred from its iron ore division in Western Australia, where it currently employs 12,000 staff.

Rio Tinto earlier this month reported a 78 percent rise in 2014 annual net profit to US\$6.53 billion.

Its underlying profit, a measure the company prefers, was nine percent lower at US\$9.3 billion, as it battled the slumping price of iron ore, its main money spinner.