Glencore makes move on Mitsubishi coal assets

Mitsubishi Corporation has sold its two thermal coal assets in Queensland for $750 million in a deal involving Glencore.

Mitsubishi let go of its 31.4 per cent stake in Clermont coal mine in the northern Bowen Basin to GS Coal, a joint venture between Glencore and Sumitomo Corporation.

Clermont was jointly owned by Misubishi Development (31.4 per cent), Glencore and Sumitomo (25.05 per cent each), J-Power Australia (15 per cent) and JCD Australia (3.5 per cent).

It is a 12 million tonnes a year mine formerly managed and co-owned by Rio Tinto.

The news follows reports this year that thermal coal exports are on an irreversible downward trend.

However, markets such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are strong traditional markets for thermal coal, with exports to Japan having risen by 2.4 per cent from December 2016–December 2017 to 64.3 million tonnes.

“The agreement will allow the company to continue supply of high quality thermal coal to its end users, adding to our continued commitment to energy security and its stable supply,” Sumitomo said in a statement.

“Sumitomo Corp will continue to take action to achieve a low carbon society, based on our belief that climate change is a material concern that has lasting implications to our environment, society, and corporate activities for generations, while we continue to fulfill of our social mission of stable energy supply.”

Mitsubishi has also sold its 10 per cent stake in Ulan coal mine to Glencore Coal.

Ulan has been managed by Glencore, boasting a production rate of up to 20 million tonnes a year product coal through to 2031. It is situated in the western coalfields of New South Wales.

Mitsubishi expects both sales to complete in 2019. The company still has ownership over several metallurgical coal mines in Australia through its 50:50 partnership with BHP as part of the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA).

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