Bowen Coking Coal is planning to place its Bluff Mine near Blackwater in Queensland, Australia, into care and maintenance due to reduced pulverised coal injection (PCI) prices.

The decision to transition the mine into care and maintenance by the end of November 2023 also comes due to higher mining costs and continued lower-than-forecast production.

In a press statement, Bowen said: “Following a strategic review of the Bluff Mine, suspension of mining at Bluff Mine prior to the wet season will allow the Company to focus on its flagship Burton Mine Complex, where lower mining costs, infrastructure advantages and rising coking coal prices will deliver stronger returns on investment.”

Bowen plans to retain the infrastructure at the mine. This will help in the reopening of the site when prices recover for PCI coal sufficiently to cover operational costs and deliver higher profit margins.

Bowen CEO Mark Ruston said the company is planning to focus on maximising profitability and shareholder returns.

Ruston added: “The Bluff Mine is a good asset in the right market. It has a finite resource which is best served selling into a strong pricing environment, not a weak one.

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“Bowen is taking prudent and responsible action to weather softer pricing, tighter labour markets, and increasing input and operational costs for Bluff Mine.”

Ruston said the company will work with key contractors HSE Mining and Qube to explore redeployment opportunities for employees affected as a result of the decision.

As per the estimates, the Bluff mine holds resources of 13.5 million tonnes (mt), of which 11.2mt is classified in the Indicated category.