Low coal prices around the world have led to another closing, this one in Australia where Glencore announced that it will shutter its Tahmoor underground coal mine in New South Wales, cutting 350 jobs, because of the ongoing downturn in world coal prices.
Glencore will gradually reduce the 350-strong workforce over the next 18 months and to close the mine by early 2019.
“The decision has been made as a result of continued low prices in global coal markets, which has meant the economic return from reserves still available at Tahmoor are not sufficient to warrant the investment required to mine them,” the company said.
The Australian reported that Glencore, which produces and markets more than 90 commodities throughout the world, said it expected all mining at Tahmoor to end by early 2019, almost 40 years after the mine opened in 1979.
It is the latest in a series of cutbacks by the company, which is one of the world’s biggest coal suppliers and has been struggling to turn a profit at some operations as a global glut keeps prices at multiyear lows.
Glencore said it will look at redeploying workers at its other operations.
The miner said it was still examining options but market conditions didn’t support the proposed Tahmoor South and Tahmoor North projects.
In 2015, the Tahmoor underground metallurgical coal mine produced 2.1 Mt (2.3 million st) of coking coal, predominantly for export to be used in steel production.
Global metallurgical coal prices have fallen from more than $US300/t in 2011 to around $US94/t as steel prices have weakened.
Glencore has 20 operational coal mines across NSW and Queensland, employing around 8,200 people.