NSW longwall draws to close

Xstrata's United operation in the Hunter Valley will close next year after exhausting the site's economically recoverable reserves.

Xstrata’s United operation in the Hunter Valley will close next year after exhausting the site’s economically recoverable reserves.

Longwall mining will cease in March 2010 before the mine is placed on care and maintenance.

The closure will affect nearly 70 workers at the mine, which currently employs 174 full-time employees and 46 contractors.

Xstrata Coal spokesman James Rickards said every effort is being made to inform employees as soon as possible so they have time to consider their future options.

“Voluntary redundancies and employment assistance programs will be provided to all affected employees before the first redundancies are announced in September 2009,” he said.

According to Rickards, 2Mt of semi-soft coking coal is yet to be mined before the closure; however, the company has already approved a pre-feasibility study to assess potential for future coal operations in the area.

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