Washpool sale draws closer

AQUILA Resources has confirmed it is in advanced discussions with India’s International Coal Ventures for the sale of its prospective Washpool hard coking coal project in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.
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Washpool project area.

Lauren Barrett

Thursday’s announcement was in response to an article by Dow Jones Newswires which reported International Coal Ventures had requested more time from Aquila to purchase the mine due to delays in Indian government approvals.

The news service said the sale of the mine could total $301 million.

Aquila put its Washpool project up for sale in August last year, appointing UBS to manage the sale.

Reports from Bloomberg circulated last year, alleging both International Coal Ventures and Chinese giant Henan Coal Chemical Industry Group were interested in snapping up the project.

Washpool is located in the northwest of Blackwater in the Bowen Basin where the coal would be exported through the proposed Wiggins Island coal export terminal in Gladstone.

The project has the potential to produce 2.6 million tonnes of coal per annum over a 16-year mine life.

Aquila is selling Washpool to help raise a combined $3 billion to assist in its share of the West Pilbara iron ore joint venture project with AMCI.

On Monday, Aquila said it was nearing finalisation of Washpool’s sale, announcing a close-out would be concluded by the March 2012 quarter.

Although the company was progressing discussions with International Coal Ventures, it stressed that at this point in time “no bidding capable of acceptance” had been received.