Australian-based Linc Energy is in the early stages of talks to acquire the Gregory Crinum coal mine from BHP Billiton and Mitsubushi, according to sources "familiar with the process" and reported by a number of news sources.
Coal selling spree
The BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) closed the mine last year as falling prices, rising operational costs and a strong Australian dollar combined to make the mine unprofitable. The mine has since been put up for sale as part BHP Billiton’s plans to divest small or unprofitable assets with some analysts predicting the company could raise US$ 20 billion for asset sales.
BHP Billiton is not the only major mining company to sell or slow spending on coal assets. Earlier this month, Anglo American announced it would stop production at the Aquila mine, while Rio Tinto is looking to sell stakes in a number of its Australian coal mines.
Linc Energy – "no agreement"
In a statement, Linc Energy said that "it has not made any binding offer or reached any concluded agreement with any entity in relation to the matters subject to current media speculation".
The company also confirmed its intention to divest its conventional coal assets in the near term, noting that "to facilitate the divestment or demerger of its coal division, Linc Energy is continuing to evaluate a number of options, including the possibility of working with joint venture partners who have synergies with Linc Energy's existing coal portfolio."
Written by Jonathan Rowland.
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