Glencore mothballs Bulga Underground; 340 workers, 60 contractors to go by 2017

GLENCORE said it will be “business as usual” at its Mangoola operation near Denman following the announcement its underground project at Bulga, Blakefield North, has been mothballed.

In a statement issued by the company Glencore said about 340 employees and 60 contractors will be affected by the decision not to start longwall production in 2017 on the Blakefield North project.

It said consultation with Bulga Underground employees got underway this week and Glencore will be working closely with affected workers.

Glencore said the decision has been made as a result of continued low prices in the global thermal and coking coal markets.

Operations at Glencore’s Blakefield South underground mine will continue as planned until 2017 when, the company said, final longwall panels have been mined.

Glencore’s open cut mine at Bulga – which last year received regulatory approval to extend its mine life until 2035 – will not be impacted by the decision.

The Glencore statement went on to say the company remains confident of coal’s medium to long-term outlook and that Hunter operations will play an increasingly important role in meeting future demand.

The statement read, in part, “We will not push incremental tonnes into markets that don’t want them or need them.”