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BHP has appointed JP Morgan to sell the miner’s Australian thermal coal mine Mt Arthur in Newcastle, in east coast of Australia, in a bid to achieve BHP’s long-term goal of reducing carbon footprint, a source close to the matter said June 24.

There were no specific timelines available for the sale process, and BHP has yet to list down the finalists for an acquisition, he added.

The open-cut mine is 100% owned by BHP, and produced 6,150 kcal/kg NAR coal with 19.4% ash and 0.61% sulfur, according to the company’s annual report.

“The move was expected due to weak profit margin for most Australian miners, including BHP, amid bearish market sentiments in northeast Asia due to COVID-19 in near-term,” market sources said.

Spot market prices for 6,000 kcal/kg NAR Australian coal hovered around $48-$49/mt FOB June 24, dipping to four-year lows, sources said.

“They have been hinting on selling Mt Arthur for many years, hence market impact could be limited,” a Shanghai-based trader said.

However, other market sources said the market impact on high-CV Australian coal prices was largely dependent on the new owner’s market share in Australian thermal coal.

Mt Arthur has a government approved extraction permits of up to 36 million mt/year, BHP’s annual report show.

BHP and JP Morgan were not available for comments.