The BHP Billiton/Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has announced its intention to close Queensland’s Norwich Park mine after a seven-week review.
BMA asset president, Stephen Dumble, says the mine has been losing money for several months.
“This decision was not made lightly. However, the impact of last year’s floods, combined with lower coal prices and high costs, has resulted in an operation that is not currently viable,” Dumble says.
He says recent industrial action had an impact on production but the mine had been unprofitable for months.
“As a result, we have had to take urgent steps to both stop the losses and find the best way to secure the operation’s longer-term future.”
The closure follows a 15-month dispute with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) over a new wage agreement.
But the CFMEU’s district president Stephen Smyth dismissed a link between the industrial action and the mine’s closure.
”The impact of industrial action is next to nothing. The onus has got to come to the way they’ve been operating it,” Smyth told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Dumble said the company would focus on new measures that would enable Norwich Park to operate as a profitable, low-cost mine.
“Until we find viable solutions for the future of the mine, we will not restart operations.”