Glencore announces Tahmoor mine in New South Wales to close

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Swiss mining company Glencore announced yesterday the closure of its coal mine in Tahmoor, New South Wales, Australia. The mine is to be closed by early 2019, pointing to the downturn of coal prices in global markets.

Glencore stated, "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".

The closure will result in a loss of 350 jobs according to the company, who said they are consulting with the employees.

The mine is not the only operation impacted by the fall of global coal and commodity prices. The Australian arm of mining magnate Peabody Energy has reported losses of almost A$3 billion in 2015. According to latest financial reports for Peabody subsidiary Peabody Australia Holdco lodged via Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the company earned a net loss of A$2.7 billion — after a loss of A$1.2 billion in 2014. Accountants at Peabody Australia have warned the mine might not be able to continue operating, with the market persistently weak since December.

Despite low coal and commodity prices, both the major political parties have been supportive of coal mines. While appearing on the ABC's Q&A program on Monday night, Coalition MP Steve Ciobo confirmed party support of coal mines. In response to an audience member question, concerning what policies the panellists had planned to combat job and economic loses in Queensland after the mining boom, Ciobo stated the Coalition government supports Adani’s new Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin — as an example of “transitioning” the state's economy.

Labor MP Terri Butler said although she doesn't personally support Adani's Carmichael project, the state Labor government "didn't have much discretion" surrounding its approval. Meanwhile, Greens party leader Richard Di Natale criticised responses from the panellists claiming the "great tragedy" is both major parties support of coal mines such as Carmichael.

"If you care about tourism you don’t open up a whopping great big coal mine and fuel catastrophic global warming", said Di Natale.

Di Natale accused both major parties of being deceitful in "slashing" both the target of and agency funding for renewable energy, leaving no plan to realize the investment potential of the renewable sector.


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