Gregory mine officially closes

After more than 33 years in operation, Gregory coal mine officially closes today, the third Bowen Basin mine to shut down this year.

After more than 33 years in operation, Gregory coal mine officially closes today, the third Bowen Basin mine to shut down this year.

BHP Billiton announced it would close the mine in September, stating that it was no longer profitable.

At the time, BHP explained that this "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".

BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance's (BMA) asset president Stephen Dumble said production costs for the Gregory open cut operation exceeded revenue from its sales and "therefore the only option available to the company was to cease production".

The company says that the 55 employees seeking retention have all been redeployed but could not confirm any such move for the 240 contractors, the ABC reported.

Central Highland Mayor Peter Maguire says the mine is of historic significance to the town.

"It was one of the first coal mines in this region," he said.

"It's been part of our region since the 1970s."

BMA closed its Norwich Park coal mine in March this year and also announced plans to shelve Red Hill Mine near Moranbah as well as Saraji East mine plans, near Dysart.

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