Japan-based oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan will aim to go ahead with the sale of a stake in an Australian coal mine, despite a surge in prices.

The firm is in talks with several entities interested in acquiring its 85% stake in the Ensham mine in Queensland, said President Shunichi Kito, who didn’t elaborate on the parties involved or when a deal could be reached. A sale follows a pledge last month to cut coal production and trim oil output.

"There was of course a lot of debate within the board of directors,” he said in an interview in Tokyo. "Some questioned the sale of these mines when they’re still making profit, while others were of the opinion that we have to sell coal assets now.”