Glencore industrial dispute putting pressure on NSW coal supplies – by Mark Ludlow and Angela Macdonald-Smith (Australian Financial Review – September 20, 2017)

Protracted industrial action at 10 of Glencore’s NSW coal mines and a congested rail network are contributing to supply issues in Australia’s largest state, with fears it could affect the grid’s ability to keep the lights on this summer.

Amid growing concerns about coal-fired power generators being unable to secure enough coal supplies, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has vowed to maintain the industrial unrest at Glencore mines where negotiations have stalled over 10 separate enterprise agreements.

CFMEU national president Tony Maher said the industrial action organised by the unions at about eight mines across the Hunter Valley had had a “material” impact on Glencore’s operations and was affecting their ability to supply coal to customers.

“It’s presented major problems for Glencore,” Mr Maher said. “The price of coal has jumped 20 per cent on the back of these stoppages.”

But a spokesman for Glencore said while the industrial negotiations had been going on for two years at some mines – with a separate enterprise agreements for each mine – it was not affecting either the ability to supply coal to customers on long-term contracts or to signing new contracts.

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