News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Queensland to offer tax breaks for new Galilee mines; Carbon, Linc part ways on future of UCG; and Dart mulls AIM listing as it fights board spill bid.

Lou Caruana

Queensland to offer tax breaks for new Galilee mines

The Queensland government will offer discounted royalty rates for mining companies that forge ahead with their planned multibillion-dollar coal projects in the frontier Galilee Basin, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The ramp-up royalty period is part of a new Galilee Basin development strategy to be unveiled by the Newman government at its major projects conference in Brisbane on Thursday.

The strategy, which will include using state powers to speed the planning process and land acquisition as well as reserving land at Abbot Point coal terminal for first movers, is set to benefit major players with tenements in the Galilee Basin, including Indian company GVK, Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Coal, Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal and Indian energy company Adani.

The slump in the coal price has increased speculation some, if not all, of the projects in the Galilee Basin, which is 500km from the coast, will not proceed.

Carbon, Linc part ways on future of UCG

Carbon Energy is thought to be nearing a substantial increase in reserves at its underground coal gasification project in Queensland, underpinning its confidence in the future of the venture despite larger player Linc Energy’s decision to scrap its project, according to the Australian Financial Review.

A reserves upgrade for Carbon Energy will strengthen its commitment to pursue UCG in Queensland, just as Linc further distances itself from its home market by shifting its share listing to Singapore.

Linc shareholders on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a proposal to delist the stock from the Australian Securities Exchange and relist in Singapore, with at least 96% of investors voting in favour.

Dart mulls AIM listing as it fights board spill bid

Coal seam gas player Dart Energy is mulling a listing on London’s Alternative Investment Market as it prioritises its UK assets and seeks to fight off an attempt by 16.2% shareholder New Hope Corporation to spill the board, according to the Australian Financial Review.

In a letter to shareholders released yesterday, chairman Nick Davies urged shareholders to vote against the appointment of four Brisbane-based directors proposed by New Hope. He said they lacked expertise in unconventional gas and international experience just as the UK was becoming increasingly important for the company.

Davies signalled that after Dart’s recent deal to bring French energy major GDF Suez into 13 of its UK exploration licences, the company was continuing to negotiate with further potential partners.

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