More mine closures

Trent Ernst, Editor


The Integra mine complex in Australia is the latest victim of slumping coal prices which saw Walter Energy idle their Canadian operations earlier this year.

The mine’s operator, Vale, a Brazilian energy and mining company, announced they would be placing Integra into Care and Maintenance mode.

According to a brief release on the company’s website, the operation “is not economically viable under current market conditions.”

The Integra complex has two mines: the underground Glennies Creek and Camberwell open cut, which is operated by subsidiary Integra in NSW Hunter Valley.

500 employees will be affected by the closure.

Like the Wolverine Mine, these two mines will be idled, but the facilities will be maintained in the expectation of stronger prices in the future.

The loss of 500 jobs will affect the town of Singleton, a community of about 24,000 that most of the workers in the mine call home.

Glencore Xstrata, who are working on a prefeasibility study on two properties up the Sukunka Valley, have announced that they will be closing the Ravensworth underground mine, also in Australia’s Hunter Valley, this September.

That closure will put about 130 people out of work;.

Over the next year, China is planning on shutting down 2000 unqualified and dangerous coal mines by the end of next year.

However, those mines will be small mines, with annual output of less than 90,000 tons, and many produce thermal coal, which is used in power generation, not steelmaking.

BHP Billiton, the world’s largest coking-coal exporter through its partnership with Mitsubishi Corp has also closed several mines recently, including its Norwich Park and Gregory operations in eastern Australia because of weak prices.

All together, over 2000 jobs have been lost in Australia’s Hunter Valley over the last year and a half.