Strong interest in Griffin: CFMEU

GRIFFIN Coal could have a new owner a week before Christmas as a union official expects about 20 “genuine bidders” to be in the running to take over the debt-ridden Western Australian thermal coal producer.
Strong interest in Griffin: CFMEU Strong interest in Griffin: CFMEU Strong interest in Griffin: CFMEU Strong interest in Griffin: CFMEU Strong interest in Griffin: CFMEU

A Komatsu 830E trucks being loaded by Griffin Coal's PC5500 shovels.

Blair Price

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union WA’s secretary of mining and energy, Gary Wood, is part of the committee of creditors, but also keeps tabs on the day-to-day operations.

He told ILN there was strong bidding interest from India, China and a Singaporean company.

While the Federal Court recently pushed back the next creditors’ meeting from the end of this month to February, Wood said this was because some of the indicative bids for Griffin were received later than expected.

He said the final binding bids must be made by November 5, while the deadline for the completion of the sales transaction is December 15.

Wood anticipates a change of ownership will take place before the next creditors’ meeting and “hopefully by Christmas”

In the meantime, Griffin is continuing to chug along with the stockpile increasing for future exports.

Wood did not have figures for August, but for June and July he said there were about 5-6 shipments to India for each month.

The coal was railed through to Kwinana and then further railed to Fremantle for export.

Wood said Griffin was producing about 1 million tonnes per annum of export coal and about 2.7Mtpa for the domestic market.

But depending on how aggressive the new owner is, Wood said the long-term business plan could ramp up saleable production to 4-7Mtpa.

Griffin operates the Ewington and Muja mines near Collie, 220 kilometres southeast of Perth.

Griffin went into voluntary administration in January and is run by administrator KordaMentha.

The total outstanding debt of Griffin exceeds $A1.8 billion, which includes the debt associated with its Bluewaters Power Station.