Eastern posts expected loss

NEW Zealand-based junior coal producer Eastern Corporation has made a $A1.55 million loss for the second half of last year, in line with its previous expectations, while its Bowen Basin permit is still up for sale.
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Courtesy Eastern Corporation Limited.

Blair Price

Despite the loss for the period, sales from Eastern’s Cascade and Takitimu open cut coal mines on the South Island totalled $6.51 million, well over double the sales of $2.65 million in the last six months of 2007.

Eastern subsidiary Broughton Coal Mining is again working with Paterson Securities to sell its 90% stake of EPC818, just south of Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek project in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

Rio pulled out of a potential $10-million acquisition of the coking coal exploration permit for the second time in November.

Eastern still had a $3.03-million cash position at the end of the 2008 as well as borrowings totalling $5.54 million.

The directors expect the company to meet its ongoing financial commitments.

Close to its Takitimu mine, Eastern holds prospecting permits 39 319 and 39 321 at Orepuki and Ohai respectively, and the producer has made government applications to upgrade the tenements to exploration permits.

With negotiations with landowners underway, Eastern will look at initial exploration this year.

Broughton joint-venture partner Mitsui Coal owns the remaining 10% of EPC818.

Shares in Eastern are unchanged at 19.5c.