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Community group calls for closure of Wilpinjong mine

Friday 31st of July 2015 05:36:01 AM

A community representation group is calling for the closure of Wilpinjong coal mine after Peabody Energy reported a US$1.05bn net loss for the June quarter.

Secretary of the Wollar Progress Association Bev Smiles said it was “reckless of Peabody to keep pushing to expand the Wilpinjong mine when its economic woes are so serious, costing both the company and our community”.

“Proceeding with the next expansion will see good money thrown after bad and inflict the final blows to what was once the tight knit and vibrant Wollar community,” Ms Smiles said.

“Who knows where Peabody will find the money to buy-out remaining properties in its path, but we do know that in the process our town is being sacrificed for naught.”

The Wilpinjong coal mine is located in mid-west New South Wales, 40 kilometres north east of Mudgee.

For the first six months of 2015, Peabody reported total coal volumes down 8.5 per cent and revenues down 15 per cent year-on-year to US$2.9bn.

Peabody’s Australian operations reported a 18 per cent year-on-year price drop to US$60.58/t, while its coal division reported revenues down 20 per cent year-on-year on a 2.8 per cent decline in volumes.

“It’s hard to find an economic justification for an expanded mine, at a time when exports to China are dropping and the coal price is plummeting,” Ms Smiles said.

“The idea that Bayswater power station needs the coal is a furphy when we know there are contracts with closer mines.

“The economic black cloud surrounding Peabody also spells danger for NSW taxpayers, who will end up footing the bill if the US coal giant walks away with empty pockets and without cleaning up its mess.”


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