A shearer cuts coal at Glencore’s West Wallsend complex.
Glencore has pushed its plans several months forward and has decided to shutter its West Wallsend coal complex in Australia in 2016, pointing to low prices. The company said the mine in New South Wales, which it co-owns with Japanese-based Marubeni Corp. and JFE Minerals, had initially been slated to idle in late 2016 or early 2017. Consideration had been given to a number of options to extend the mine's life but a combination of factors, especially coal market and economic conditions, do not support continued operations, officials said. Part of the decision was also reportedly tied to its decision not to mine a longwall block near a large conservation area. West Wallsend, with a workforce of about 300, produced 2.6 million metric tons of coal in 2014, mostly thermal. The total was about half of its previous average.