BHP Billiton to close Australian mine

Global miner BHP Billiton is to close one of its Australian mines as it battles weak prices and rising costs.

It said today it would shut its Gregory mine, near Emerald in Australia, from 10 October, as it deemed production at the mine “no longer profitable in the current economic environment of falling prices, high costs and a strong Australian dollar”.

The mine produced 2.8m tonnes of coking coal in the year to June.

Production costs at the mine exceed revenue, according to the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance asset president Stephen Dumble.

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, a joint venture between BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi, added that it would try to move the 297 staff and contractors to other mines run under the same alliance.

The continuing cost review will also look at other ways to reduce costs and make production more profitable for the miner. BHP said it would also review its asset portfolio.