BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance1 (BMA) today announced it would cease production at its Gregory open-cut mine, which is part of the Gregory Crinum complex2 near Emerald, from 10 October 2012.
The decision follows a continuing operational review of the Gregory Crinum operations, which determined that the Gregory open-cut mine production was no longer profitable in the current economic environment of falling prices, high costs and a strong Australian dollar.
BMA Asset President, Stephen Dumble, said production costs for the open-cut Gregory mine currently exceed the revenue from product sales, and therefore the only option available to the company was to cease production.
“The Crinum underground mine will continue to operate along with the Gregory Coal Handling Preparation Plant. The remaining operations will be made more competitive by the removal of the high cost Gregory production.
“We understand that this decision will have an impact on our employees, their families and the Emerald community. We will work closely with our workforce and look for opportunities to redeploy affected employees to other BMA operations.
“We will also work with community stakeholders throughout the process,” he said.
The continuing operational review will identify additional measures to further reduce operating costs, making remaining underground production more profitable. BMA will also continue to review its remaining portfolio of assets to ensure that each operation can be cost competitive and profitable across the price cycle.
1 BMA is a joint venture between BHP Billiton (50 per cent) and Mitsubishi (50 per cent).
2 Gregory Crinum comprises the Gregory open cut operations and coal preparation plant and the Crinum underground mine. Gregory open cut coal mine commenced operations in 1979.