TWO Central Queensland coal mines will shut down operations for four weeks over Christmas, with other mining companies also taking similar action.

Peabody has been forced to temporarily idle production at its Coppabella and Moorvale mines for four weeks during the holidays due to tough market conditions created by COVID-19.

It is understood other mining operators are facing a similar situation in the coming months.

While mine shutdowns are not uncommon, the length of Peabody's planned downtime is considered longer than usual.

Coppabella Mine in Central Queensland
Coppabella Mine in Central Queensland

A Peabody spokeswoman said it had been affected by incredibly challenging global economic conditions caused by the pandemic.

"While a slow global recovery is underway, this recovery is in very early stages and coal demand and pricing remain under pressure," she said.

"We have made the decision to temporarily idle production at our Coppabella and Moorvale mine for four weeks across Christmas.

"We have fully and openly communicated our decision and the reasons for it to our teams and we thank them for their understanding and ongoing commitment to their mine.

"All employees have been offered the opportunity to access paid leave for the idle period."

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The spokeswoman said Peabody thanked all employees at Coppabella and Moorvale for their hard work throughout this "challenging year".

Peabody workers taking part in an industry-wide safety reset.
Peabody workers taking part in an industry-wide safety reset.

Last week, News Corp reported a sale of Peabody Energy's Australian coal assets could be looming, with the US-based miner saying it continues to take "aggressive actions" to reduce its costs.

The spokeswoman said the company would not comment on rumours or speculation.

"Peabody continues to take aggressive actions to reduce our cost structure, preserve liquidity and ensure each of our operations has a path to cash flow generation," she said.

But the company is pushing ahead with previously flagged plans to sell its North Goonyella mine at Moranbah after a devastating underground fire tore through the site in 2018.


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