THE mining industry across the western field is watching with interest as negotiations continue towards the sale of the mothballed Baal Bone Colliery near Cullen Bullen.
The owners Xstrata closed the productive mine some years ago with significant job losses.
The company continued to use the site for a time as a training mine but subsequently placed it on a care and maintenance basis.
Since that time there have been repeated calls from union sources for the government to strip the company of its leases if not prepared to work the mine.
Late last year the company, now operating as Glencore, surprised the industry when it invited expressions of interest in the purchase of Baal Bone.
The EOI process has now closed but it is not known where the negotiations proceed from here.
Potential interests contacted by the Mercury this week refused to comment, citing confidentiality agreements.
It has been widely rumoured in Lithgow that EnergyAustralia is among the bidders.
EnergyAustralia owns the Mt Piper and Wallerawang power stations and had intended acquiring the Coalpac venture at Cullen Bullen had it not been rejected by the NSW Government.
Unlike Coalpac, Baal Bone is an underground mine with the advantage of its own rail siding linked to the Mudgee line.