Coal train in Central Queensland
Coal train in Central Queensland MECHIELSEN LYNDON

Another major CQ coal investment with Glencore purchase

AS Rio Tinto continues to offload its CQ coal interests, opportunistic buyers are swooping in to buy their stake in the booming industry.

At the start of the month, Rio sold its 80 per cent stake of $3.03 billion Kestrel's underground mine and it's now sold its Hail Creek and Valeria coal assets to Glencore.

In a move set to increase the Swiss miner's dominance of Australian coal, Glencore paid $2.01 billion for the Hail Creek operation and adjacent coal resources and $201 million for the Valeria deposit.

Glencore currently employs 7300 people in Queensland and its spokesperson explained the details behind its recent purchases.

"Glencore has successfully completed its acquisition of Rio Tinto's 82 per cent interest in the Queensland Hail Creek coal mine and adjacent coal resources, as well as its 71.2 per cent interest in the Valeria coal resource," the spokesperson said.

"Our focus is now on reviewing and integrating these assets as part of Glencore's Australian coal portfolio.

"We are confident that demand for both hard coking coal and thermal coal produced at Hail Creek will remain strong into the foreseeable future."

The Hail Creek open cut mine, which first opened in 2003, was described by Glencore as a "large-scale, long-life and low-cost mine producing two-thirds premium quality hard coking coal and one-third thermal coal for export."

It currently employs about 1300 people, including contractors, and exports coal from the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal.

In 2017, the Hail Creek mine produced 9.4 mt of saleable coal, comprising 5.25 mt of hard coking coal and 4.13 mt of thermal coal.

Valeria is a large undeveloped coal deposit in the central Bowen Basin, about 40km north-west of Emerald.

It contains 762 mt of coal mineral resources, and once developed, was expected to be a large and long-life mine producing high-energy, low-ash thermal and coking coal resources.