Donaldson may enter public arena

NEW South Wales miner Donaldson Coal could go public next year, backed by majority owner and giant commodity trader Noble Group.
Donaldson may enter public arena Donaldson may enter public arena Donaldson may enter public arena Donaldson may enter public arena Donaldson may enter public arena

Underground at Donaldson Coal's Tasman mine.

Angie Tomlinson

Noble chief operating officer Ricardo Leiman told the Australian he planned to list Donaldson (80% owned by Noble) in the first half of 2008.

"Our plan next year is to eventually list Donaldson and that will be a vehicle for us to eventually continue our expansion in Australia," Leiman told the Australian.

Donaldson currently operates the Donaldson opencut mine and the Tasman underground mine, both near Newcastle. With a capacity of 2.5 million tonnes per annum, mining commenced at the Donaldson opencut mine in 2001 while Tasman kicked off in late 2006.

The Abel continuous miner operation, located off the Donaldson opencut operation, is in the throes of ramping up. Abel will produce 4.5Mtpa over 20 years.

Noble has been active in the Australian market this month, recently sparking speculation that it would make a takeover bid for Gloucester Coal after increasing its stake in the miner from 5% to 19.7%.

Noble Group also holds 30% of the Middlemount coal project with Macarthur Coal owning the remainder. Noble has the option to acquire an additional 20% stake in the project for $A100 million.

Noble also has other dealings with Macarthur, entering into a heads of agreement to sell a 19.61% interest in its subsidiary, Monto Coal 2, for a total consideration of $48.5 million during December.

Macarthur holds a 51% stake in the Monto Coal Joint Venture.

Noble supplies thermal coal, coking coal and coke products to the global marketplace. It owns coal production assets in Australia and Indonesia, and supplies a range of coal products from China, Russia and South Africa.