Mount Arthur coal mine in the Hunter Valley is set to cease operations in 2030, as BHP failed to find a buyer.
The Muswellbrook mine employs 2,000 people, and is approved to operate until 2026, but has told the Australian Stock Exchange it will apply to extend the operation until 2030, when it will then close.
Once closed, the site will be rehabilitated, which is expected to take another 10 to 15 years.
BHP have been looking for a buyer for the past two years, saying it’s a financially challenging and complex pit to operate.
Vice President NSW Energy Coal, Adam Lancey says he understands it’s significant news for many.
“Mt Arthur Coal has been economically challenged for a number of years and despite a recent price strengthening, we know it is a complex pit to operate. New approvals and significant capital investment to develop into new areas would be required to keep the mine running beyond 2030.
“That’s why, after two years of extensive work and looking at all options, it has been determined that operating to 2030 and then moving to long-term rehabilitation is the best option from an economic, community and rehabilitation perspective.
“Seeking approvals to enable mining to continue to 2030 means we seek to extend Mt Arthur Coal beyond 2026, when our current consent ends, and provides certainty for our people and the community about the future for the mine. It also gives us eight years to work together on a plan that contributes to helping the region diversify and strengthen its economy,” Mr Lancey said.
BHP will now commence a program of consultation with workers, suppliers and businesses to develop a plan on the most appropriate post-mining land use.
The company will also get the ball rolling with all levels of government for approval to allow the mine to operate through to 2030.