The coal market has “turned”
RESOURCES sector deal maker buys into Blair Athol revival set for later this year.
Wednesday 20 July 2016
A proposal by TerraCom to buy and re-start Rio Tinto’s mothballed Blair Athol mine near Clermont in a matter of months has been given the thumbs up by one of the mining sectors most prolific dealmakers.
Anthony Steains private investment company Sea Honour has bought $1 million worth of TerraCom shares saying the coal market was on the improve.
“TerraCom is an exciting emerging mining company with an impressive asset portfolio and project pipeline in a coal market cycle that we believe has turned,” he said.
“This placement by Sea Honour is potentially the leading edge of interest in Asia for the Company.”
Mr Steains is well known in mining circles for his involvement in the merger between Yancoal and Gloucester Coal a few years ago, and his recent lead role in a $7 billion unsuccessful bid by the investment fund he established called Sceptre Partners to buy out Santos.
At one point Sceptre Partners had $US14 Billion in investment funds available - mostly from Gulf and Asian ruling families.
Meanwhile, TerraCom has released a six-page response to claims by environmental groups that taxpayers will end up paying for Blair Athol’s rehabilitation at the end of its mine life because TerraCom won’t have the resources to.
TerraCom Executive Chairman Cameron McRae rejects the claims.
“Upon the potential acquisition of Blair Athol Mine and the successful transfer of mining title, TerraCom plans to commence over 50 hectares of site rehabilitation while bringing the mine back into production,” he said.
“The Company takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and will meet all the requirements as determined by the Queensland Government through its various departments.
“TerraCom will provide $80m cash to be held in a bank account nominated and controlled by the State of Queensland to cover environmental rehabilitation commitments.
“This financial assurance is not a bank guarantee but real money in a bank account that is controlled by the State Government.”
TerraCom plans to buy Blair Athol from Rio Tinto for a nominal one dollar payment in return for taking on the project’s costs and liabilities, although Rio Tinto has also stumped up $80 million to meet the rehabilitation requirements of the mine.
However despite the headlines, the real cost of getting Blair Athol back operating will be in the tens of millions - if the experience of Stanmore at Isaac Plains is anything to go by where they have spent for than $30 million getting to that point.
Terra Com says there could be more than 100 jobs generated if the deal goes ahead which will be a real shot in the arm for Clermont.