Vale Sheds Another Australian Coal Mine
Buyers are Glencore, Bloomfield.
Brazilian mining giant Vale has continued its disposal of non-core holdings, agreeing to sell a mothballed coal mine in Australia jointly to Glencore Plc (GLNCY) and Bloomfield Group for an undisclosed sum.
The mine, called Integra, has been in care and maintenance since July 2014, when Vale said low coal prices meant keeping it open was no longer sustainable. It is the second coal mine Vale has sold this month, as it pursues a strategy to divest non-core assets.
Vale in July sold another coal mine in Australia to a local operator for A$1 amid a sector downturn that has claimed thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in losses.
The Integra colliery neighbours separate coal assets owned by Bloomfield and Glencore. It produced about 4.5 million tonnes of coal per year from both its underground and open cut mine before it was shut.
Prices for coking coal used in steel making have fallen from $300 a tonne in 2011 to around $85, reflecting a global supply glut and a slowdown in steel production growth in China, a key destination for Australian coal.
Vale has been looking to get out of the Integra mine since 2012. At the time it was seen worth around $500 million, although such heady valuations may no longer apply, say analysts.
Under the sale, Glencore will acquire Integra's underground operations while Bloomfield will acquire the open cut mine.
"This is a logical and unique opportunity that would strengthen our ability to operate over the long term," said John Richards, managing director of Bloomfield. "The deal would breathe new life into the Integra open-cut site and will sustain local employment."
More than 4,000 jobs have been lost at Australian coal mines alone in the past two years.
Bloomfield intends to incorporate its part of the mine into its existing operations, while Glencore said it had no immediate plans to resume mining in the near term.
"This acquisition provides Glencore with future optionality to realise synergies from adjoining tenements," said Ian Cribb, head of Glencore's Australian coal operations
Vale owns 61.5 percent of Integra with the rest held by Asian manufacturers, steelmakers and power companies, including Japan's Toyota Industries Corp and JFE Holdings Inc and South Korea's Posco, who have also agreed to sell.
The transaction is expected to close in the next few weeks, the statement said.
Vale said the sale was in line with its strategy of owning assets able to produce large volumes at competitive costs.
Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer and James Regan