News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Shenhua coalmine given go-ahead; BHP Billiton called on to revive the faith; and Queensland Nickel employees want to buy nickel plant.

Lou Caruana

Shenhua coalmine given go-ahead

The proposed Shenhua Watermark coal mine in northern New South Wales will be allowed to relocate 262 koalas and destroy their natural habitat, the Land and Environment Court has ruled.

The decision upholds the development approval of a mine that Nationals leader and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce labelled “ridiculous” because of its proximity to prime agricultural land.

The court case was brought by local environment group Upper Mooki Landcare, who claimed the Planning Assessment Commission failed to properly assess the danger of the $1.2 billion project to the koala population.

BHP Billiton called on to revive the faith

Pressure is mounting on BHP Billiton's board and chief Andrew Mackenzie to restore investors' faith that the miner can continue to expand, amid plunging commodity prices and predicted cuts to its dividend, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Fund manager at BHP investor Pengana Capital Tim Schroeders said the result was “an important line in the sand for the company because there are a lot of investors losing the faith”. BHP's share price has plunged 40% in the past 12 months.

Queensland Nickel employees want to buy nickel plant

A group of former managers and workers at Clive Palmer's Queensland Nickel are close to lodging an audacious bid for a community buy-back of the failed Townsville refinery, according to the Australian Financial Review.

If the group can convince major trade creditors and administrators it is a viable option, they would have to buy out Mr Palmer, who still owns the refinery assets.

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