Expansion at Carborough Downs
It’s looking more and more like the midas touch for Hans Jürgen Mende in Australia
Wednesday 06 September 2017
Reopening of the Broadlea open cut coal mine is imminent, with Golding Contractors selected this week as mining contractor.
According to Golding’s parent company NRW, Golding has secured a $25 million contract for all drill and blast, overburden removal, and mining operations at the mine.
There is not expected to be significant development work required to get the Broadlea open cut mine reopened because it shares infrastructure with the adjacent Carborough Downs Coal mining complex.
In announcing the Golding deal CEO Geoff Caton said he looked forward to working with Fitzroy Australia Resources (FAR) to "recommence open cut operations at the Broadlea mine”.
In late 2016, at the height of the mining downturn, American based coal billionaire Hans Jürgen Mende - through his global commodities and resources group AMCI - re-purchased the Carborough Downs coal mine from Vale after selling it to them nearly a decade ago.
Technically the new owner of the Carborough Downs mine is private subsidiary company Fitzroy Australia Resources (FAR) which was formed after the sale.
FAR and Vale didn’t release details of the sale price, so we will never know whether it was a sell-in-boom-buy-in-bust deal to be remembered alongside Kerry Packer's Channel Nine sale to Alan Bond.
However, we do know that in 2007 Vale paid $835 million to AMCI for the Integra Coal mine in NSW, 80% of Carborough Downs, half the Isaac Plains mine, the Broadlea Joint venture, and a suite of other undeveloped deposits.
Then in 2009 Vale spent a further $400 million updating the mining processes at Carborough mine to achieve saleable coal of 2.8 million tonnes a year.
Chief Executive Officer for FAR Grant Polwarth, told members of the Mackay-based Resource Industry Network in March this year that they had completely reversed the direction of operations.
"The mine under previous ownership was purely a longwall operation; they'd stopped all development operations as they were winding the mine down," Mr Polwarth said.
"We've come on, and we've had to move very quickly, think out of the box, on how we can give ourselves continuity through 2017 and mine towards the north to unlock the reserves in the northern area.
"We've breathed life into the mine and given it a future."
Around 300 people are currently employed at the Carborough downs mining complex.