BHP suspends plan to build Red Hill coal mine in Queensland

BHP Billiton Ltd. has halted plans to build a coal mine (Red Hill) near Moranbah in Queensland, Australia, which was to produce 14 million tons of coal annually, The Australian reported online.

“The company is focused on the projects currently under execution,” a BHP spokesman told the newspaper on Wednesday. “In response to the challenging external environment, we have made some changes to the growth project arrangements.”

The mining giant has reportedly suspended studies on the Saraji East project, also expected to produce 14 million tons of coal a year, but BHP wouldn’t confirm the news, according to the newspaper.

BHP Billiton shelves Red Hill coking coal project

BHP Billiton Ltd has deferred its Red Hill coking coal project in Queensland, as falling commodity prices and weaker Chinese growth expectations weigh on the mining giant’s operations, according to The Australian.

According to the newspaper, BHP has stopped research into its underground coking coal mine near Moranbah, where it had planned to mine 14 million tonnes of coal a year.

The project was expected to cost the company more than $3 billion, given average industry project costs.

BHP said in May that pre-approval work on the Red Hill site could have started as soon as next year.

A separate The Australian report suggests work on BHP’s Saraji East mine near Dysart, Queensland has also stopped.

The decision follows BHP’s deferral of plans to expand its Olympic Dam copper and gold mine in South Australia and its Port Hedland iron ore harbour expansion in Western Australia.