Glencore to cease operations at West Wallsend underground coal mine in Australia

25 March 2015 (Last Updated March 25th, 2015 18:30)

Glencore has announced its decision to cease operations at its West Wallsend underground coal mine located in Australia, citing weak coal prices.

Glencore has announced its decision to cease operations at its West Wallsend underground coal mine located in Australia, citing weak coal prices.

Set to be closed in 2016, the mine is co-owned by Japan's Marubeni and JFE Minerals. The mine was scheduled to be closed in late 2016 or 2017.

Located in the New South Wales (NSW) Newcastle coal field, the mine is said to have produced 2.6 million tonnes of thermal coal and coking products last year.

"Consideration had been given to a number of options to extend the mine's life."

Reuters quoted Glencore saying in an emailed statement: "Consideration had been given to a number of options to extend the mine's life but a combination of factors, especially coal market and economic conditions, do not support continued operations."

Development work at the mine is expected to end in June and all mining is to stop by mid-2016.

According to the company, its latest decision was consistent with its mining plan and approximately 300 people, including contractors, work at the West Wallsend mine.

In March, Glencore announced plans to suspend operations at its Ravensworth underground coal mine in Australia to control surging costs after declining coal prices.

Located 25km from Singleton, the underground mine in the Hunter Valley coal belt of NSW is said to have produced 2.1 million tonnes of semi-soft coking coal in the year 2013.

The mine is owned by Xstrata Coal NSW for the joint venture owners Resource Pacific and Posco.