Gloucester chairman wants carbon tax detail

GLOUCESTER Coal chairman James McKenzie has urged fellow coal mining companies to remain calm over the federal government’s proposed carbon tax after the Foreign Investment Review Board approved Gloucester’s $600 million takeover of the assets of Donaldson and Monash Coal.
Gloucester chairman wants carbon tax detail Gloucester chairman wants carbon tax detail Gloucester chairman wants carbon tax detail Gloucester chairman wants carbon tax detail Gloucester chairman wants carbon tax detail

Courtesy Gloucester Coal

Lou Caruana

Despite vociferous objections by the Australian Coal Association, which has warned that eight coalmines may have to shut within three years of the tax being introduced, McKenzie said the government needed to “address the issue”

''We haven't seen the final form in which this is going to work, so having definitive statements on the effect this is going to have on the coal industry – or any other particular sector of the Australian economy – is a bit too early,'' he is quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald.

''Let's see what the final form is.''

According to a survey released by the ACA last week, the proposed carbon tax could strip 4700 jobs out of the black coal mining industry in three years and cost the industry $22 billion in its first nine years.

Potential high volume, low margin mines, which are more distant from export terminals, are potentially in greatest jeopardy from emissions pricing, according to a study of 82 coal mines based on a carbon tax starting at $20 per tonne and rising 4% each year.

If the tax rises to more than $50/t, 18 mines could close.

The effect of the tax on the broader economy would be even greater, especially in the regions, with conservative estimates of 14,100 jobs foregone in 2020/21 from applying emissions pricing to existing coal mines.

Export coal sales foregone in 2020/21 are estimated to be around $3.64 billion.

The total loss of coal sales over the period from implementation of emissions pricing to the end of 2020/21 would exceed $22 billion.

Gloucester proposed to acquire full ownership of Donaldson from commodities trader Noble for $585 million.

This includes $360 million of new Gloucester shares to be issued to Noble at $9.75 per share. The shares are subject to a 12-month sale restriction.

Gloucester will also take on $225 million of debt, including $186 million of Noble debt and $39 million of debt from an unnamed third-party lender.

The Donaldson acquisition will also provide Noble with new marketing arrangements.

In a separate transaction, Gloucester entered an agreement to acquire the Monash thermal and semi-soft coking coal project from Ellemby Holdings and its associated entities.

This deal is for $30 million cash plus an undisclosed number of new converting shares of Gloucester, linked to the achievement of key milestones.

The Monash project covers 22.19 square kilometres near existing Hunter Valley infrastructure.

Gloucester said the project, comprising exploration licences 6123 and 7579, contained about 287 million tonnes of export grade coking and thermal coal.

The company is targeting first coal as early as 2017 and a ramp up to full production of up to 9Mt per annum run of mine in 2022.

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