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Date: Melbourne and London, 30 November 2001

BHP Billiton today announced that it would not be continuing further development at the Moonee energy coal mine, which is located south of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia.

Wallarah Coal Joint Venture General Manager Peter Hayes said: "Recent returns from the mine have not been economic and a planned long wall could not be justified on commercial grounds."

The Group has undertaken extensive consultation with employees and unions prior to today's announcement and initiatives have been put in place to minimise the impact on the 80 people affected by this decision. All employees will receive their full entitlements.

"BHP Billiton has determined that the mine is unviable due to its cost structure and it is expected that the remaining long wall will close in June 2002," Mr Hayes said.

The Moonee mine produces about 1.3 million tonnes of energy coal per annum and is operated by the Wallarah Coal Joint Venture, which is owned by BHP Billiton (80 per cent) and Catherine Hill Resources Pty Ltd (20 per cent), which is a subsidiary of the Nissho Iwai Corporation.

BHP Billiton subsidiary Coal Operations Australia Limited (COAL) announced on 23 February 2001 that it had decided to divest its interest in the underground operations near Lake Macquarie NSW, due to their size, growth profile and performance.

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