Union seeks meeting with Anglo over proposed coal mine sales

AUSTRALIA’S mining and energy union said it was seeking a meeting with Anglo American after the group’s CEO Duncan Wanblad on Tuesday announced the sale of the firm’s five metallurgical coal mines in the country.

The sale was part of a restructuring proposal that also includes the unbundling of Anglo’s 79% stake in Anglo American Platinum and the sale or demerger of its 85% shareholding in De Beers. It would also sell or close nickel mines.

Reuters cited the Mining and Energy Union (MEU) as saying: “Ensuring workers’ ongoing job security would be the top priority following Anglo American’s surprise announcement it would sell its five Australian coal mines, all based in Queensland”.

“We will be seeking urgent briefings with the company to understand what the process will be from here,” MEU Queensland President Mitch Hughes said.

Anglo American’s steelmaking coal operations which it is looking to divest include five mines in Queensland – Grosvenor, Aqulia, Dawson, Capcoal, and Moranbah North, said Reuters.

Anglo’s restructuring announcement comes three weeks after BHP confirmed it had proposed £25 per share for Anglo American. On May 7, it submitted a higher £27 per share offer. Both proposals were rejected by Anglo.

Anglo argues the offer, which is in shares, undervalues the company and is too complex as BHP first intends to unbundle Amplats as well as Kumba Iron Ore in which Anglo has a 70% stake. The South African government is also opposed to BHP’s takeover, but has taken a more sanguine approach to Anglo’s proposal.