On August 29 New Hope lodged an unconditional off-market takeover offer for the shares in NEC that it does not already own. On that date New Hope controlled 94.7% of NEC’s shares.
NEC will continue to develop the Colton coking coal project based on a production rate of 0.5 million tonnes per annum. New drilling data indicates the maximum potential size of a potential Stage 2 Colton mine is about 2Mtpa.
A native title agreement with the Butchulla people has been agreed and a coal seam gas co-development agreement has been reached for Colton.
The Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal documentation continues with NEC funding its capacity obligation.
NEC is also evaluating the Elimatta project for a mine of 5Mtpa capacity with appropriate infrastructure.
New Hope has agreed to provide short-term debt funding to NEC for a maximum term of 12 months.
New Hope’s Queensland operations annual raw coal production dropped by 5% to 11Mt as it struggled to recover after the 11 week flood-induced rail outage.
Its net profit after tax for the year 31 July 31, 2011 is expected to be in the range of $498 million to $503 million, which would include non-recurring items in relation to the gain on the sale of Arrow Energy and on the sale of a 10% interest in the New Lenton project.
Raw coal production at its new New Acland mine for the June quarter was at record levels at 2.665Mt.
A combination of high opening inventory levels and good railing performance resulted in coal sales of 1.748Mt, 9% above that of the corresponding period in 2010 and 105% above that of the flood-impacted previous quarter.
Its Queensland Bulk Handling export throughput was increased to 2.3Mt, up 27% over the corresponding period in 2010. This was also a quarterly record performance for QBH, with performance over the past two months reflecting an annual throughput rate of over 9Mtpa.