SYDNEY Feb 19 Anglo-Swiss miner Xstrata
said it is dropping a unit of Leighton Holdings as
operator of the Collinsville coal mine in Australia, which has
seen substantial losses due to soft coal prices and unfavourable
Xstrata, which announced 600 job losses at its Australian
collieries in September, said on Tuesday it plans to run the
mine in-house, replacing Leighton unit Thiess by August 2013.
Separately, Thiess estimated the switch will reduce overall
orders by about $650 million over four years to 2016 but will
have a negligible impact on its order book in 2013.
"Despite efforts to restore the mine's profitability, a more
comprehensive reorganisation is now required if it
(Collinsville) is to be viable, provide employment and play a
role in the community," an Xstrata spokesman said.
The Collinsville mine, yielding 3.9 million tonnes of coking
and thermal coal a year, is 55 percent owned by Xstrata. Itochu
Coal Resources, part of Japan's Itochu Corp, holds 35
percent and Sumitomo Corp 10 percent.
Xstrata, which is in the process of being acquired by
commodities trader Glencore, blamed "substantial
financial losses" at the mine on factors, "including the weak
coal export market, strong Australian dollar and high costs".
"The industry as a whole continues to face some pretty
significant headwinds," the spokesman said. "A lot of the
conditions we're experiencing at the moment, we think may be
with us for some time to come," he added.