Glencore has announced plans to close its Tahmoor underground coal mine in New South Wales, Australia, by early 2019 due to weak prices of the commodity.

The company started consultation with Tahmoor’s workforce over the closure.

The mine has been operating since 1979, and produced 2.1 million tonnes of saleable coking (metallurgical) coal last year.

Glencore said in a statement: "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."

Development work at Tahmoor has been completed and the company plans to reduce the workforce of 350 gradually over the next 18 months.

"The economic returns from reserves still available at Tahmoor are not sufficient to warrant the investment required to mine them."

Prior to announcing its decision, the company examined various options to continue operations such as the proposed Tahmoor South and Tahmoor North projects. However, existing market conditions were not considered supportive.

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Glencore will assist employees by investigating opportunities for their redeployment at its other coal operations.

Tahmoor underground coal mining operation is in the Southern Highlands Region of New South Wales, just south of the Tahmoor township and 75km south west of Sydney.

The mine operates in the Bulli coal seam and the majority of its product is hard coking coal. It also produces small amounts of steaming blend coal.

Glencore has 13 mining complexes in Australia and 18 operational mines across New South Wales and Queensland.

Image: Global coal prices are expected to continue being sluggish for the foreseeable future. Photo: courtesy of