Glencore Is Shutting A Mine Because Of The High Australian Dollar

Weak coal prices, a persistently high Australian dollar and difficult geology have forced GlencoreXstrata to announce the closure of its Ravensworth underground coal mine in New South Wales.

The Hunter Valley underground operation will be placed into care and maintenance mode come September.

A Glencore spokesperson told Business Insider Ravensworth underground is a relatively high cost operation and despite a number of operational changes made in May last year the mine is no longer economically viable in the current market.

Operational changes included cutting approximately 83 jobs over the past 12 months and moving workers from a seven day roster to a five day one.

The spokesperson said it wasn’t any one factor that has resulted in the decision to shut Ravensworth but a “combination”.

The first round of redundancies will take place next month, with about 17 positions to go.

Currently the long wall — an expensive piece of machinery at the mine – is being relocated. The remaining 113 workers will mine the new seam until September when the mine will be put into care and maintenance mode.

According to Ravensworth’s current mine plan the operation had another 12 years life of mine. In 2013 the mine produced 2.1 million tonnes of semi-soft coking coal.

The decision doesn’t affect the mine’s opencut operations at this stage.

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