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31/7/2017 — Coal, Lignite and CSG/CBM
Bathurst gains clearance on new assets
By Ross Louthean

The way is now open for Bathurst Resources Ltd (ASX: BRL) and local joint venture partner Talleys Energy Ltd to acquire the Stockton and Waikato mines of Solid Energy.

The Overseas Investment Office provided the final rubber stamp for the joint venture through its vehicle, BT Mining Ltd (65% owned by Bathurst), that should see settlement occurring on August 31.

This was announced in Bathurst’s June quarter report

The acquired Buller coalfield operations take in the big Stockton opencast mine and the Cypress, Upper Waimangaroa, Mt William North and Ngakawau load-out, while on the North Island BT Mining will now own the Rotowaro and Maramarua mines.

The report also revealed another hurdle for the company will have its day in court.

L&M Coal Holdings Ltd (LMCH), which used to be a NZ company involving Geoff Loudon, but now is reportedly controlled from Hong Kong, has claimed money was owed to it over part of Bathurst’s Buller coalfield acquisitions. The hearing for this dispute will be set down for February 12 next year for a period of two weeks.

Bathurst will “vigorously defend” this claim.

NZResources reported several months ago that LMCH was claiming Bathurst owed it $US40 million in payments related to a sales and purchase agreement (SPA)

Bathurst said at the time that the SPA provides that a failure to make a performance payment was not an actionable breach of or default under the SPA for so long as relevant royalty payments continue to be made under the royalty deed.

The quarter report showed Bathurst’s two 100% owned operating mines produced a total of 66,656 tonnes of coal in the three months, with Takitimu in Southland continuing to provide the lion’s share.

Takitimu produced 44,628t and the company said stripping progressed on the Black Diamond block with first coal expected in the first quarter of FY2018. There was reduced demand from the dairy sector with the winter months and Bathurst was preparing to accumulate coal for the “spring surge.”

At the Canterbury operations production was in line with the target of 100,000t for the year. Bathurst has upgraded the production fleet with the objective the mine will produce more than 150,000t in FY2018.

With the pending purchase of the Sullivan mining lease from Solid Energy, Bathurst was continuing to evaluate its mothballed Escarpment project and its other Denniston Plateau assets.

Chief financial officer and company secretary Jason Hungerford is leaving the company today to take up an alternative opportunity, and executive director Russell Middleton will fill these positions until a permanent replacement is found.

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