Peabody says Qld mine closure won't affect Helensburgh 

Peabody Energy has moved to allay fears about the future of its Helensburgh mine after announcing plans to shut down its Wilkie Creek site in Queensland at the end of the year.

A spokeswoman for the US-based company told the Mercury yesterday the Queensland mine's closure was an "isolated decision" and did not represent a "pattern" for its other mines nationwide.

She said the Helensburgh mine, which employs around 570 people, was very different to the Wilkie Creek site and produced a different type of coal.

The spokeswoman said the Wilkie Creek mine, located in the Surat Basin near Dalby, had been on the market for the past 18 months and no longer fitted within the company's strategic plan for its Queensland mines.

"The decision to close Wilkie Creek has been made in response to a broad combination of lower market prices and higher costs," she said.

"Peabody's Queensland strategy is to focus on the development and expansion of its metallurgical coalmines and projects in the Bowen Basin."

The Wilkie Creek mine is the only mine that sits outside the Bowen Basin.

Nearly 200 workers are set to lose their jobs when the mine shuts, having a major impact on the Dalby community.

The Peabody spokeswoman said the company was committed to looking after its staff and would work with them regarding redeployment and voluntary redundancies.

The staff would be offered any vacant positions at the Helensburgh site, she said, but were more likely to look for opportunities closer to home.

No staff would be forced to take redundancies before Christmas.

Affected employees and contractors had been notified.

Peabody describes itself as a leading coal producer and reserve holder in Australia with 11 operations in Queensland and NSW.

With AAP

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