THE Baralaba North coal mine is set to return to production next year after it was mothballed in February, with the loss of 70 jobs, due to concerns about its viability
Cockatoo Coal Limited made the announcement in its annual report this week with chairman Peter Richards saying the mine had the backing of USA based Liberty Metals & Mining Holdings and remained in good order.
"After what has been another difficult year, Cockatoo Coal Limited (Cockatoo) has now emerged from voluntary administration (in July) having been recapitalised, reorganised and reverted to shareholders' and directors' control," he said.
"The directors and executive management are now firmly focused on returning the Baralaba North mine to production and the company to profitability.
"Regrettably, the process of administration (November) and placement of the mine on care and maintenance (in February) has been trying on all of the company's stakeholders, particularly our employees and their families.
"However, we now look forward to re-starting the mine in 2017 and providing a safe, secure and profitable operation for all returning and new employees and the community of Baralaba.
"As a reflection of our commitment to this mine and the community, we are proposing to rename the company Baralaba Coal Company Limited.
He said "the crisis" the company faced earlier this year was due to a number of reasons, including the sustained fall in coal prices resulting from imbalances in global supply and demand.
He said the impact of these "significantly lower coal prices" were compounded by the delay and uncertainty in receiving the required permits to increase production.
"In the absence of higher prices and without a clear pathway to alternate funding in the absence of the ANZ facility, it appeared inevitable that the company's financial position would not be sustainable within the 2016 financial year, which left the Board with few options but to place the company into voluntary administration," he said.
Boston-based minerals firm Liberty Metals & Mining Holdings now owns 60% of the 10 billion new shares issued by the company, while the remaining 40% of the new shares were issued to JS Baralaba Wonbindi Pty Ltd.
Control of Cockatoo returned to its directors mid year on behalf of shareholders and the company is focused on resuming trading on the Australian Stock Exchange as soon as possible.
It is the third Central Queensland coal mine to announce plans to restart operations in recent months, after Glencore at Collinsville and Stanmore Coal at Issac Plains.
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