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9/2/2018 — Coal, Lignite and CSG/CBM
Sage behind Sullivan mine rebuff

The anti-fossil fuel stance of the Green Party appears to have come to the fore in Bathurst Resources Ltd (ASX: BRL) failing to buy Solid Energy’s mothballed Sullivan mine on the Denniston Plateau.

A report in the New Zealand Herald by the local newsagency BusinessDesk said Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage could not be persuaded in approving the sale.

Sage, who is also Conservation Minister, recently gave an edict that no new mines would be permitted on DOC land.

Reporting in the Herald, BusinessDesk’s Jonathan Underhill said Minister Sage declined the application using what was described as “the sensitive land test” and said the deal failed to provide a convincing economic benefit or job creation case.

“Given the ongoing volatility of the coal price there is considerable uncertainty about whether the proposal would result in any economic benefit or jobs for the West Coast,” Sage reportedly said. (Perhaps the Minister should look at recent coal price moves and unemployment figures around Westport, Editor).

“Indeed, Bathurst has itself suspended operations at the larger Escarpment mine in Denniston,” she claimed.

Meanwhile, BusinessDesk said Solid Energy's creditors will get at least 60 cents in the dollar when the failed State-owned collieries are all sold, up from the previous range of 45¢ to 55¢.

Last August, a Bathurst-Talley's Group company BT Mining gained Overseas Investment Office approval to buy Solid Energy's Stockton, Rotowaro and Maramarua mines and other property for $96 million.

BusinessDesk said Bathurst’s stock has soared 214% in the past 12 months on optimism it would benefit from a recovery in coking coal prices. But Sage claimed the lack of activity at the 19 hectare Sullivan Mine site was likely to continue, so the sale doesn't provide a benefit.

The Sullivan mine has not been operational since 1995 and Sage claimed Bathurst had no plans to reopen it.

Sage claimed her decision went against official advice. “As Minister of Land Information, I weighed up the OIO's information on this matter very carefully. While its advice was, on balance, in favour of allowing the purchase, I decided there was insufficient benefit to New Zealand to consent.”

Sources: nzherald.co.nz; businessdesk.co.nz & nzresources.com data.

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