The Tahmoor mine employs more than 300 workers.

By Samantha James

GLENCORE has told 350 workers at its Tahmoor coking coal mine in NSW that plans to close the mine will see the workforce gradually reduced across the next 18 months.

The Swiss company said ongoing coal price weakness meant the economic return from Tahmoor reserves “are not sufficient to warrant the investment required to mine them” and all mining would cease by early 2019.

“A number of options to continue operations were examined, including the proposed Tahmoor South and Tahmoor North projects, but current market conditions do not support these projects,” Glencore stated.

“We appreciate this will be a difficult time for our employees and we will be putting support services in place to assist them, including investigation of opportunities for redeployment at other Glencore coal operations.”

The Tahmoor underground mine has been operating for almost 40 years. In 2015 it produced 2.1 million tonnes of coking coal, predominantly for export.

Global metallurgical coal prices have fallen from more than US$300 per tonne in 2011 to around US$94/t as steel prices weakened.

Glencore operates 18 coal mines across NSW and Queensland, employing more than 7500 people.