The final throes of State owned coal miner Solid Energy was a bleak picture of red ink but the last phase of mining produced slightly better results than projected.
This was indicated by the company as it scaled back operations and sold various mining assets, including the flagship Stockton open cast mine in the Buller coalfield to the consortium of Bathurst Resources and the Talleys Group.
Radio New Zealand’s energy and resources writer Eric Frykberg said late last week that new information shows payments inching up for creditors.
Last September Solid Energy said it would give creditors 60 cents in the dollar, but it has now confirmed they will get 62 cents.
Frykberg said the Bathurst-Talleys consortium paid $46 M for three mines and undertook to pay up to $50 M more if it was able to trade profitably because of rising prices for coal.
“Those prices have duly risen, and the first tranche of the extra payments - $6 M - was made to creditors” last week, Radio NZ reported.
Solid Energy chief executive Tony King said if the price of coal stays up the company would be able to pay a total of 13 cents more in the dollar, taking final payments up to 75 cents in three and a half years from now.
He said creditors would have got just 15 to 20 cents if the company had been liquidated as proposed in 2015.
Frykberg said Solid Energy collapsed in 2015 owing $380 M in debt.
The remnants of Solid Energy will formally go out of existence in March, under a plan nicknamed “Operation Lightswitch.”
Radio NZ said there are nine people still working for the company, five of who are employed to maintain the site of the Pike River mine. They will transfer to a new agency being set up by the Ardern Government to attempt a re-entry to that damaged mine.
Source: radionz.co.nz & nzresources.com data.
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