BMA to permanently close Norwich Park coal mine

BMA have today announced it will cease production at the Norwich Park coal mine.

According to the joint venture operation owner BHP Billiton, Norwich Park has been losing money for a number of months, but a combination of lower production and coal prices as well as an increase in costs have forced its hand.

The miner said this decision follows a seven week review of the mine’s viability, which could not find any solution to return the mine to profitability.

BMA chief Stephen Dumble said “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.

"While recent industrial action has had an impact on production, the mine has been unprofitable for some months," Dumble stated.

"As a result, we have had to take urgent steps to both stop the losses and find the best way to secure the operation’s longer term future. Importantly, this decision on Norwich Park Mine is not reflective of the broader quality of our world class Queensland Coal operations."

Dumble went on to say that BMA will look at any measures that will enable the mine to operate.

"Until we find viable solutions for the future of the mine, we will not re-start operations. We understand that this decision will have a significant impact on our employees, their families and the Dysart community, and we are committed to supporting them during this period," he said.

BMA added that it will look at possibly moving some employees across to its nearby Saraji coal mine.

The Queensland Resources Council said the closing of the mine was a ‘concerning development’ for the workers and their families.

QRC chief Michael Roche stated that "the situation at this Bowen Basin mine is a salutary reminder to politicians, employees, communities, and a multitude of interest groups that is simply not possible to keep loading more and more costs onto mining operations without consequences".

Speaking to the CFMEU, spokesperson Steve Pierce told Australian Mining they were ‘flabbergasted by the announcement’.

He went on to say that the CFMEU’s first priority is to ensure secure employment for all the workers affected by the closure, adding that it will say more following its meeting with BHP tomorrow morning.

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