Miner examines the feasibility of taking Anglo mine open cut.
Wednesday 31 May 2017
Queensland explorer Australian Pacific Coal (APC) has finalised the purchase of the Dartbrook underground coal mine in NSW from Anglo American.
The development follows an audacious move by the company’s two major shareholders Nic Paspaley and John Robinson and their jointly controlled company Trepang Services who loaned APC $35 million to allow it to finalise the Dartbrook deal.
Not only does the loan have an interest rate of between 10 and 16%, but it's also being loaned as convertible notes, which means that instead of having to be repaid, the value of the loan will be issued to the financiers in new shares - more than 10 billion of them.
Not only that, APC is now 85% controlled by Mr Robinson and Mr Paspaley, and they also have security over the company's assets.
Australian Pacific Coal chief executive officer, John Robinson Jnr - whose annual wage has shot to $500,000 following the deal - says Dartbrook adds to its Queensland tenements and the company will now look at major changes to the Dartbrook mine plan.
“The completion of the Dartbrook acquisition represents a significant milestone for APC as we transition to an emerging coal mining company with the addition of the world class Dartbrook assets to our existing Queensland tenements,” he said.
“We have assembled a strong and experienced Board and Management team to take Dartbrook forward.
“Work commenced earlier this year with a comprehensive review of geological and coal quality data as part of a Pre-Feasibility Study into the open cut potential at Dartbrook.”
The study is expected to be completed later this year.
Investors who accepted the loan from Mr Robinson and Mr Paspaley will be hoping that the benefits that flow to APC from acquiring Dartbrook and transitioning from explorer to miner will outweigh the significant costs of having the value of their existing shareholding massively diluted.
While APC’s focus in the short term will be getting through the government approval process and restarting Dartbrook, the company has some interesting coal tenements in Central Queensland.
It has the Hillalong tenement adjacent to the Hail Creek mine, which Rio Tinto had a close look at in 2015, as well as the Cooroorah tenement between Curragh and Jellinbah mines near Blackwater.
That project has advanced to the mineral development licence stage and has a deposit of around 125 million tonnes of metallurgical and thermal coal.