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BHP set to reap $7 billion for 'cast-offs' as buyers circle unwanted mines


BHP appears to be closing in on a big pay day for its unwanted coal assets including the two Queensland projects held by its BMC joint venture with Mitsui.

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But how much the company will earn from a trade sale has widened significantly.

Speculation has been the assets will achieve a price tag of anywhere between $US2 billion ($2.6 billion) and $US7 billion ($9.14 billion) for the mines which also also included the Mt Arthur thermal coal mine in NSW.

Prices for thermal coal have increased significantly in recent weeks to about $US120 a tonne and premium hard coking coal is at $US163 a tonne.

Shaw and Partners had claimed the BMC assets in the Bowen Basin – South Walker Creek Mine and Poitrel Mine – could earn as much as $US3 billion and the total package could be worth $US7 billion.

BHP has been trying to sell its thermal coal mines for several years and last year included the lower grade coking coal assets with a two-year timeline.

It has also been anticipated that BHP would opt for a spin-off of the assets into a separate company in much the same way as it offloaded South32.

UBS has previously speculated that an in-specie distribution of shares in the new company was the most likely outcome.

BHP today said it would not add to the speculation about the outcome of the process.


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