BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, has announced that its BMA joint venture with Mitsubishi Corp. will close the loss-making Norwich Park metallurgical coal mine in Queensland, Australia. The company blamed a combination of lower production, a significant increase in costs and lower coal prices for the closure: “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,” said BMA asset president, Stephen Dumble, in a statement.
More fuel on the fire
The move comes as the long-running industrial dispute between BMA and its workers intensified. Unions recently announced a further 48 hour strike at the company’s mines, including Norwich Park, in a dispute over working conditions.
Earlier this month, the strikes, in combination with heavy rain, caused BMA to declare force majeure on deliveries from its mines in the Bowen Basin.
Written by Jonathan Rowland
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