New part-owner Bloomfield will run the open-cut Rix’s Creek North mine. Glencore have no current plans to restart the Integra underground mine.BRAZILIAN mining company Vale has signed an agreement to sell its Integra mining operation near Singleton to Hunter company Bloomfield and international operator Glencore.
Integra has an underground and open-cut operation that it shut last year on a “care and maintenance” basis, putting 500 people out of work.
In an announcement last week, Bloomfield announced that it would take over the open-cut mine, which was originally known as Camberwell, its coal washery and a rail loop joining the mine to the main rail line.
In the same announcement, Glencore said it would take over the underground mine, formerly known as Glennies Creek.
It would also have a right to use the coal washery and rail facilities on a “cost-plus basis”.
The deal was still subject to regulatory approval and was expected to be finalised in coming weeks.
Bloomfield managing director John Richards said the company intended to run the open-cut mine from its adjacent Rix’s Creek operation, and call it Rix’s Creek North.
The head of Glencore’s Australian coal operations, Ian Cribb, said the company had not yet decided an operational future for the underground mine, and a decision was not expected for some months.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union district president Peter Jordan said the union welcomed the purchase, which was a sign of confidence in the industry.
It was too early to say how many jobs would be created but the union was talking to Bloomfield about its labour requirements for Rix’s Creek North.
Mr Richards said the long-term future of the coal industry was sound with solid demand for growth through advanced and developing countries.
“New high-efficiency power plants and other technologies are helping to reduce emissions from power generation,” Mr Richards said.
“Buying [the open-cut mine, a coal washery and a rail loop] is a logical and unique opportunity that will strengthen our ability to operate over the long term,” Mr Richards said.
“This deal will breathe new life into the Integra open-cut site and will sustain local employment.”
Mr Cribb said buying the underground leases gave Glencore the potential to “realise synergies from adjoining tenements”.
“While the Integra underground had been a profitable semi-hard coking coal mine in the past, it was placed on care and maintenance in 2014 and Glencore has no plans to restart the operation in the near term,” he said.
“We intend to evaluate a number of options for the Integra underground mine in the months ahead,” Mr Cribb said.