Rio Tinto, the global mining giant has, since January 2013, announced or completed $4.7 billion of divestments.
A change to the ownership structure of Coal & Allied completed on 3 February 2016 helped enable this transaction. Rio Tinto as a 100% owner of Coal & Allied:
- receives all consideration associated with the sale of Rio Tinto’s interest in the Bengalla joint venture;
- holds a 67.6% interest with management rights in the Hunter Valley Operations mine;
- holds interests of 80% and 55.6% respectively, with management rights, in the integrated Mount Thorley and Warkworth operations; and
- currently holds 100% interest in the Mount Pleasant project. On 27 January Rio Tinto announced it had reached a binding agreement for the sale of Mount Pleasant to MACH Energy Australia for $224 million plus royalties. The sale is expected to close in the second half of 2016.
Mitsubishi Development has moved from holding a 20% stake in Coal & Allied to holding a direct 32.4% stake in the Hunter Valley Operations mine, in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. [quote]
The open cut Bengalla coal operations are centred in the Wittingham Coal Measures of the Hunter Coalfield, which is part of a Permian coal basin known as the Sydney basin.
Using a dragline truck and excavator method, 362 employees (as at December 2014) work in shifts to keep the mine operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In 2015 the mine produced more than 8.3 Mt of high quality thermal coal for export used for electricity generation. After being washed and prepared for sale, the coal is loaded onto trains for transportation 115 km to the Port Waratah Coal Terminal in Newcastle where it is shipped to international customers.
Bengalla had JORC run-of-mine coal reserves totalling 269 Mt (163 Mt, proved and 106 Mt, probable) as at 31 December 2014.