Wambo bought by investment group

JAPANESE company Sumitomo Coal Mining sold the Wambo longwall mine to privately held company Hunter Coal in early January 2001.

Staff Reporter

Hunter Coal, which owns 100% of Wambo Mining Corporation, is owned by operating development and mining company Excel Mining, Resource Finance Corporation Ltd (RFC) and Malcolm MacLennan. The directors of Hunter Coal are Malcolm MacLennan (MD), Tony Haggarty (Chairman), Allan Davies, Chris Ellis and Andy Plummer. Excel is owned by Rick Chadwick, Tony, Allan, Chris, and RFC.


The exact breakdown of ownership was not made public but MacLennan said none of the partners owned more than 50% of Hunter Coal.


An RFC spokesperson said the investment group was not in the business of buying mining assets to on-sell for profit.


“We are in the business of identifying unloved, problematic assets where we can pay proprietal attention to things to add value. Traditionally in coal the answer to problems has been to throw capital at things. We prefer to invest intellectual capital.”


Hunter Coal’s immediate priority is to conduct a review of operations within the next six-to-eight weeks. With around 5Mtpa remaining in the current reserves, the underground operations will probably not continue beyond Longwall 13, Wambo managing director Malcolm MacLennan said. The original mine plan saw underground development continuing to the north-west but there were concerns over heavily faulted geology in this area. A final decision on the underground operation is expected after the completion of the review.


Meanwhile, an open-cut operation, containing about 40Mt in recoverable reserves will be developed on the existing Wambo lease. The first coal is expected from the open-cut operation by November 2001, with production gradually ramping up to around 3Mtpa.


The new open-cut mine will be in close proximity to the earlier open-cut which closed in 1998, and is likely to be contractor-operated.


The Wambo longwall produced 2.186Mt of ROM coal for the fiscal year ended December 2000.