BHP Scraps Immediate Thermal-Coal Exit – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – June 16, 2022)

Mining company fails to find buyer for Mt Arthur mine, one of Australia’s biggest coal operations

ADELAIDE, Australia—The world’s largest mining company abandoned the sale of its last thermal-coal mine, and said it would aim to close the Australian pit in 2030.

Despite record-high coal prices, BHP Group Ltd. said it failed to find a buyer for the Mt Arthur mine, which is one of Australia’s biggest coal operations but is technically complex and will have a large cleanup bill when it closes.

The decision was welcomed by some activists, who have been urging big mining companies to manage coal pits to an early closure rather than selling them to smaller companies, which they say fails to address underlying carbon emissions and risks a less thorough remediation.

BHP spent the past two years seeking buyers for several thermal-coal and low-quality steelmaking-coal mines. The company has been pivoting toward commodities it expects to enjoy higher demand amid a global energy transition, such as copper and nickel.

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