Mine partner not crackers about Cockatoo

COCKATOO Coal has reported an 89% jump in production from the Baralaba coal mine during the March quarter, while facing legal action over the mine acquired from Peabody Pacific last year and scooping up another permit in Queensland’s Surat Basin.

Blair Price

Owned by Baralaba Coal, a 62.5% Cockatoo Coal and 37.5% Republic Coal joint venture, the Bowen Basin open cut mine produced 108,335 tonnes of run-of-mine coal for the three-month period.

Cockatoo seeks to build on the 89% gain from the 2008 March quarter by advancing mining, drilling and blasting techniques.

“The improving production trend is expected to continue as further controls and geological understanding is rolled out into operational practices,” the company said.

Sales from the mine during the quarter included 51,305t of pulverised coal injection coal and 30,239t of thermal coal.

However, Cockatoo was not completely chirpy about the mine, disclosing that Republic had started legal proceedings against it in the New South Wales Supreme Court on April 8.

Cockatoo said Republic was seeking orders that Baralaba Coal be wound up and had alleged the joint venture’s affairs were being conducted in a manner contrary to the interests of its shareholders and/or oppressive to Republic Coal.

Cockatoo said it was continuing to manage the Baralaba mine and was defending against Republic’s claims.

As Baralaba Coal’s principal creditor, Cockatoo said it did not expect the legal proceedings initiated by Republic would have a material effect on the price or value of its securities.

Cockatoo added its financial support of Baralaba Coal would be reviewed this month and that Baralaba had appointed an independent accounting firm to assist its directors in considering capital requirements.

Exploration

Cockatoo upgraded its resources in the Bowen and Surat basins during the quarter, as previously reported on International Longwall News, and the company also picked up EPC 1322 for the next five years from Queensland’s Department of Mines and Energy.

Located in the Surat Basin, the permit consists of 14 sub-blocks and covers 46.2 square kilometres.

Meanwhile, over at Cockatoo’s Kingaroy project in EPC 882, some 25km from the Tarong Power Station, the company is looking forward to receiving Tarong Energy’s drilling results for the western boundary of MDL 201, which is adjacent to the Kingaroy permit.

Cockatoo said Tarong was aiming to develop the Kunioon coal deposit in MDL 201 to supply the power station, with the Kunioon seam being one of the three main seams present in Cockatoo’s EPC 882.

Shares in Cockatoo closed down half a cent to 37c yesterday.

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