BHP to sell Queensland coking coal mines to Whitehaven for $4.1bn

BHP is to sell its Blackwater and Daunia coking coal mines, which are held in the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) metallurgical coal joint venture in Queensland, for $4.1bn to Whitehaven Coal, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The sale decision furthers BHP’s push to exit its coal operations in Queensland, after the world’s largest-listed miner sold out of the South Walker Creek and Poitrel coal mines last year, the newswire said.

The miner has been working towards making a transition to commodities and away from coal-related assets as it seeks to enjoy the benefits of higher demand at a time when the focus shifts to industrial metals like copper and nickel.

BHP earlier this year acquired full control over Australian copper producer OZ Minerals in a deal valued at A$9.6bn. The miner had also offloaded its petroleum assets to oil and gas producer Woodside Energy in 2022.

The acquisition will be “materially earnings accretive” for the company, increasing the exposure to markets in India and Southeast Asia, Whitehaven said on Wednesday.

“This transformational acquisition will pivot our portfolio towards metallurgical coal, which has been a core pillar of our strategy for many years making this a better-balanced business,” Whitehaven CEO Paul Flynn said, adding that the miner’s thermal coal business remains strategically important.

BHP said it will continue to operate the assets until the June quarter of 2024 after which Whitehaven will take economic and operating control of the mines.