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Low coal prices force Glencore to shut Australia’s Tahmoor mine

Tahmoor Mine – surface material handling facilities. (Image courtesy of Tahmoor Coal)

Mining and commodities giant Glencore (LON:GLEN) will close its Tahmoor coal mine in Australia by early 2019, as a continued slump in the price for the fossil fuel has made the operation unsustainable.

Life-extending operations were studied, but current market conditions did not support those projects, Glencore said.

The company has told its approx. 350 employees that the mine, which had been in operation since 1979 and which generated 2.1 million tonnes of metallurgical coal last year, will be closed early in 2019 rather than have its life extended.

“The decision has been made as a result of continued low prices in global coal markets, which has meant the economic return from reserves still available at Tahmoor are not sufficient to warrant the investment required to mine them,’’ Glencore said in an e-mailed statement.

It added that life-extending operations had been studied, including the proposed Tahmoor South and Tahmoor North projects, but current market conditions did not support those projects.

The underground mine, in the southern highlands of New South Wales, is one of Glencore’s 18 Australian operations, which employ some 7,650 workers.

First job cuts will begin in about a year.