RAG pursues full equity at North Goonyella

IN a move designed to increase its exposure to the excellent coal resources of Queensland, majority shareholder, RAG Australia Coal (RAGAC) is progressing with an option to assume full ownership of the North Goonyella coal mine.

Staff Reporter

This initiative is in accordance with the original joint venture agreement between RAGAC and project partners and mine operator, Thiess. The agreement was established in November 2000, where Thiess indicated that it would consider selling its interest after a period of time.

North Goonyella is situated 180km west of Mackay and produces up to 3Mtpa of hard coking coal for export to European and Japanese markets. RAGAC is part of RAG Coal International, which ranks in the top five of the world’s leading producers of hard coal.

Managing director of RAG Australia Coal, Darian Hielscher, said that following two years of operation under the RAGAC/Thiess joint venture, it was now appropriate to review the equity and operational roles of the partners.

“We are currently conducting an extensive due diligence process. Subject to the outcomes of that process and board approvals from the parties involved, RAGAC will take over Thiess’ 40% equity in the project to gain 100% ownership of the operation,” Hielscher said.

“North Goonyella has been undergoing restructuring to re-establish it as a viable operation and we are pleased with the progress made. RAG is committed to the Queensland coal industry and the local and regional communities, and this latest step is in keeping with our confidence in the continued, long-term viability of the mine and the coal industry in Queensland.”

Hielscher said the indicators for North Goonyella are positive and that RAG was confident production levels can be consistently maintained and increased in the future, “provided we are able to progress an effective on-site operational framework,” he said.

“We are investigating all facets of the mining operation, with the aim of working with all on-site staff to progress the operation under the direction of RAGAC.

“We value our relationship with Thiess, which operates our Burton Opencut coal mine and with whom we are currently negotiating the operation of our new potential Eaglefield Opencut development at North Goonyella.

“Continued improvement of the North Goonyella operation is the key focus for the future and the performance standards at the mine will be maintained and where possible, enhanced,” Hielscher said.