BHP’s Plan to Exit Thermal Coal Is in Doubt – by Thomas Biesheuvel, Harry Brumpton and James Thornhill (Bloomberg News – November 1, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — BHP Group’s exit from thermal coal is looking less certain as record prices and shifting investor attitudes put the brakes on its planned retreat from the dirtiest fuel, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company has been planning its thermal coal exit for at least two years — BHP has already sold a stake in the Cerrejon thermal coal mine in Colombia and is nearing a deal to sell some Australian coking coal mines.

But the process for offloading its Mt Arthur mine in Australia is stalling because coal’s rally has made the asset more valuable, and it’s no longer under as much pressure from some investors to sell, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the details are private. That’s giving BHP more room to consider its options for Mt Arthur and wait for better offers.

BHP and rivals including Anglo American Plc have looked to exit thermal coal under pressure from investors who weren’t comfortable with blue-chip names mining the dirtiest fuel.

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