JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A newly registered unlisted private Australian company, Batchfire Resources, is buying Anglo American’s Callide thermal coal mine in Queensland under confidential terms.
Anglo said on Wednesday that it had agreed to sell 100% of its shares in the subsidiary companies holding its interest in the opencast thermal coal mine, which has processing infrastructure that produced 7.6-million tonnes of coal in 2014.
“We wait to see how much it will sell for,” Investec Securities said in a note.
Most of Callide’s coal goes to two adjacent power stations under long-term contract.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Anglo’s niobium and phosphate mines in South America were to be auctioned and Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online understands that five entities have been shortlisted to take over Anglo coal assets in South Africa.
Anglo this month also exited its Tarmac businesses in the Middle East and in late December agreed to sell the 83.33% it holds in the Dartbrook coal mine in Australia for up to $36-million.
The disposals follow a radical portfolio restructuring, further material cost savings, more capital expenditure (capex) reductions, a potential reduction of the total number of employees to 50 000 and the retention of 20 to 25 assets from the current 55.
Capex this year and next will be $2.5-billion, a 55% reduction on 2014 expenditure.
Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has postponed investment in all of its growth and replacement projects and released 3 850 direct and indirect employees and contractors.
“Any asset that’s cash negative will not remain in operation. We won't squeeze for the last dollar but, at the same time, there won't be any fire sales," Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani said in a media conference call from London last year, in which Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online participated.
The Snap Lake diamond mine in Canada was placed on care and maintenance late last year, the Damtshaa diamond mine in Botswana has been in similar mode since the start of this year and South Africa’s Thabazimbi iron-ore mine has been closed.
The purchase of Amplats’ Rustenburg Mines was ratified by the shareholders of platinum-mining aspirant Sibanye Gold on Monday and the Kimberley Mines have been disposed of to Epaka Mining and Petra Diamonds.
There was a potential loss of 500 jobs from Anglo’s winding down of its Drayton South coal operation in New South Wales after Australia’s Planning Assessment Commission blocked the mine’s expansion and the Mantos Blancos and Mantoverde copper mines in Chile have been sold to UK investment company Audley Capital.
Dividends have been suspended and the progressive dividend concept abandoned altogether.
Anglo’s six business units are being halved to three, which will see base metals and platinum in the same industrial metals unit, coal and iron-ore in the bulk commodities’ unit and De Beers in the diamond unit.
Only top-tier assets, described as 'priority-one assets', are destined to remain in Anglo, which is due to report again next month.
In response to Mining Weekly Online questions, the Venetia diamond mine’s underground project in South Africa’s Limpopo province has been revealed as a priority-one asset that will make the cut along with the lucrative Mogalakwena mine in Limpopo.
Kumba Iron Ore is working hard to drastically lower its break-even price and Anglo expected to have delivered $3.7-billion worth of overall efficiency improvements by the end of 2017 – its centenary year – made up of increased productivity and lower operating and indirect costs.