Bathurst Resources Ltd’s (ASX: BRL) application to purchase a closed West Coast coal mine has been declined by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO).
Bathurst wanted to purchase the Sullivan mine, on the Denniston Plateau, which is adjacent to its mothballed development mines above Westport, on the West Coast.
The Sullivan mine has been closed for more than 20 years.
Bathurst suspended its Denniston Plateau venture in March 2016, after spending two years defending legal challenges to its consents. However, by then the global price of the specialist hard coking coal had plunged to uneconomic levels.
While Bathurst told the OIO it wanted the hard coking coal from the Sullivan mine to support its adjacent Denniston Plateau holdings, the OIO said given there was uncertainty around Sullivan mine reopening, and it was not satisfied there would be substantial benefits for New Zealand.
Since suspending Denniston Plateau operations, Bathurst has survived with three thermal South Island coal mines supplying industry and, more recently, with a joint venture partner purchased Solid Energy's West Coast Stockton mine plus another two in the North Island, near Huntly.
*Simon Hartley is senior business writer and assistant chief reporter for the Otago Daily Times.
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