The High Court claim for payment of $US40 million ($NZ57.3 M) from Bathurst Resources Ltd (ASX: BRL) has been set to start on February 12 next year.
The claim by L&M Coal Holdings Ltd (LMCH), formerly a Kiwi company but now said to be owned by a Hong Kong company relates to some leases acquired in the Buller coalfield by Bathurst
Bathurst has made it clear several times there that it would be vigorously contesting the claim.
The company’s September quarter report said two weeks had been set for the court case.
NZResources reported notification of the claim was made by Bathurst late last year with LMCH seeking a ruling that a sale and purchase (SPA) agreement was made – with subsequent amendments – in relation to arrangements between the parties in 2010.
Earlier this year Bathurst’s said LMCH asserts BRL was required to make a $US40 M performance payment under the SPA.
Bathurst said 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.
Bathurst’s legal advisers claimed that as long as the company maintains the royalty payments there has been no breach of the deed.
The September quarter report detailed the start to expanded coal mining by Bathurst, now the dominant coal producer in NZ following formation of the BT Mining Ltd joint venture with Tally’s Energy. The joint venture acquired the big Stockton opencast coking coal mine and the Rotowaro and Maramarua mines on the North Island from Solid Energy.
Bathurst owns 70% of BT Mining and Talley’s the balance.
The quarter report said that coking coal exports from Stockton in the quarter saw four shipments made with one during September under BT Mining control.
The report said BT Mining had the economic benefit of the shipments in July and August, with full operational control from September 1.
“Coal mining exceeded budget during September which added to run-of-mine and port stocks at the end of September,” the quarter report said.
Production for BT Mining was also above budget from Rotowaro and Maramarua, though there were issues with heavy rain at Rotowaro.
At the established 100% owned South Island mines, Bathurst said Takitimu had overburden and coal mining generally in line with budget with stocks being built-up for the busier period ahead, while Canterbury operations continued on its growth path but impacted by a period of heavy rain.
Bathurst was continuing to evaluate its Denniston assets, taking in the pending purchase of the Sullivan coal licence from Solid Energy. A pre-feasibility study has been updated to reflect the increased area of resources.