Miner and commodities trader Glencore (LON:GLEN), the world’s biggest supplier of thermal coal, has bought out its two Japanese partners in an Australian coal venture that includes Newlands and Collinsville mines, as well as a stake in an export terminal.
The acquisition of the stakes held by Japanese partners Itochu Corp and Sumitomo Corp, which owned 35% and 10% respectively, makes of Glencore the sole owner of the coal operations. The company recently restarted one of them, Queensland’s Collinsville, in response to higher coal demand from Southeast Asia and favourable prices.
A Glencore spokesman told Platts on Monday that Collinsville was likely to return to full production in early 2017 and that it would be “business as usual” at the Newlands open cut mine.
Last month, the Swiss firm said it was ready to resume operations at another Australian coal mine — Integra. That operation, formally called Glennies Creek, became part of Glencore’s portfolio last year after its previous owner, Brazil’s Vale (NYSE:VALE), mothballed it.
At least seven other coal mines are expected to resume operations in Australia before 2016 ends — four in Queensland and three in New South Wales. These include Collinsville and Isaac Plains, which Vale and Sumitomo sold last year to Stanmore Coal (ASX:SMR) for only $1.
These operations have benefitted from an increasing demand for Australian coal because of restrictions on production in China. They are expected to provide work for hundreds of people and lead to a jobs growth able to keep mild downward pressure on Australia’s unemployment rate.