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27/4/2018 — Coal, Lignite and CSG/CBM
Bathurst and BT reduce debt

An ongoing healthy production performance has allowed coal miner Bathurst Resources Ltd (ASX: BRL) and its BT Mining partnership to reduce debt.

The main production performance for the March quarter came from BT Mining – the joint venture between Bathurst (65%) and the Nelson-based Talleys food group (35%) – on the mines acquired from Solid Energy.

This takes in New Zealand’s hard coking coal mine at Stockton in the Buller coalfield and the Rotowaro and Maramarua mines in the North Island’s Waikato.

Bathurst said the joint venture had reduced its debt by $15 million and had a production performance for the three months that was in line with guidance.

The March quarter saw total equity production for Bathurst – including its 100% owned South Island domestic market mines – of 433,000 tonnes produced and 388,000t sold.

Financial revenue was $61.012 million.

BT Mining achieved its target production at Stockton as the operation maintained waste stripping to maintain annual output of 1.1 Mtpa

Rotowaro exceeded production targets, partly driven by additional sales, while Maramaru resumed production in February, and coal seam exposure achieved despite weather conditions.

At Bathurst’s fully owned Takitimu mine in Southland, production did not achieve the full target, due to some issues with higher than expected contamination and coal loss. These issues have since reduced as the focus shifts from mining Coaldale East to Black Diamond.

At Canterbury, bad weather impacted the operations, however, the company said some gains were made in March.

On other leases in the Buller coalfield, Bathurst has continued to evaluate the Denniston Plateau assets and an updated exploration plan and budget schedule was completed, with resource consents lodged for drilling.

The company said it finished the quarter with a cash balance of $22.5 M.

On the litigation claim by the new owners of L&M Coal Ltd related to financial claims, Bathurst has presented to the court, with closing arguments made in March. Judgement of the case was expected to take up to six months, with Bathurst “vigorously” defending the claim.

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