Mining giant set to sell Australian coal mines in reset

Fraser Barton |

Anglo American is to sell its five coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.
Anglo American is to sell its five coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

Anglo American will sell its Australian coal mines and use the funds to reset its balance sheet after knocking back a BHP takeover bid.

The 107-year-old company is set to break up its worldwide operations, selling its five Queensland steelmaking coal interests in the Bowen Basin “with urgency”. 

Anglo American is the second largest steelmaking coal producer in Australia, owning metallurgical and thermal coal mines at Capcoal, Dawson, Moranbah North, Grosvenor and Aquila.

“Divesting our high quality steelmaking coal interests in Australia, proceeds of that will be used to reset Anglo American’s balance sheet,” chief executive Duncan Wanblad said.

Anglo American is set to simplify its operations, focusing on products that benefit from a green energy push.

The London-based company is looking to sell off its nickel portfolio and separate DeBeers, its diamond operation.

Mr Wanblad said Anglo American will now focus on copper, iron ore and crop nutrients in South American and southern African markets. 

“These actions represent the most radical changes to Anglo American in decades,” he said.

“Of course, we are conscious of the impact of making such far reaching changes particularly on our employees.

“We see considerable opportunities for our employees, both in delivering the full potential of Anglo American and in the businesses we will be divesting or the demerging.”

Anglo American announced its plans after this week rejecting a takeover from rivals BHP that valued the company at £34 billion ($A64.6 billion).

Anglo American was ranked as the world’s eighth-biggest mining company last year.

“We will of course implement changes in a manner that is respectful to our employees, host communities and countries,” Mr Wanblad said.

Queensland opposition leader David Crisafulli said he remained optimistic about the future of mining in the Sunshine State.

“I truly am. What I want is for people to look at Queensland and see a place where they should invest,” he told reporters on Wednesday.