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Five Qld coal mines could sell for almost $5B

Anglo American Capcoal workers
Anglo American Capcoal workers

A global mineral producer plans to exit its fossil fuel operations in Central Queensland.

Anglo American recently revealed it would sell the Aquila (302km west of Rockhampton), Capcoal (295km west of Rockhampton), Dawson (175km south of Rockhampton), Grosvenor (199km southwest of Mackay) and Moranbah North (211km southwest of Mackay) coal mines.

The employer will shift its focus towards other commodities it produces instead.

“Our decision to focus Anglo American’s portfolio in our world-class resource asset base in copper and premium iron ore – while retaining our crop nutrients optionality at Woodsmith – marks a major new phase in executing our strategy. We expect that a radically simpler business will deliver sustainable incremental value creation through a step change in operational performance and cost reduction,” Anglo CEO Duncan Wanblad said in a public statement.

Mainstream media speculated the assets might fetch up to US$3.3 billion (A$4.9B).

“Whitehaven Coal, Stanmore Coal and its Indonesian partners, Coronado Global Resources, Peabody Energy and Teck Resources or Glencore would all be keen, as would BHP,” News Limited reported.

“[BHP] is likely to have even put its Daunia and Blackwater coal mines up for sale last year to make way for the Anglo American metallurgical coal mines in its portfolio, which it would not have otherwise been able to own due to antitrust issues.”

The announcement prompted the Mining and Energy Union (MEU) to seek “urgent” meetings with Anglo about how the sale would affect workers.

“Our priority will be protecting our members’ ongoing job security through the sale process, along with ensuring entitlements are protected and the mines operate safely,” Queensland district president Mitch Hughes said.

Wanblad indicated divesting his employer’s entire steelmaking coal division could result in job losses.

“We are conscious of the impacts of making such far-reaching changes, particularly on our employees. We see considerable opportunities for our employees, both in delivering the full potential of Anglo American and in the businesses that we will be divesting or demerging,” he said.

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