A newly registered private company, Mach Energy Australia, has purchased Rio Tinto’s Mount Pleasant greenfield site, and intend to start producing coal in 2017.
The company was only registered on September, 29 2015, is linked to Indonesia’s Salim group and the directors of the company are listed as Scott Winter, Tony Veitch, Scott Nichols and Ferdian Purnamasidi.
It is interesting to note that Mr Winter was Nathan Tinkler’s former right hand man.
News of the sale broke on Wednesday morning after the parties reached “a binding agreement” worth US$224 million plus royalties.
The site is adjacent to New Hope’s newly acquired Bengalla open cut mine outside of Muswellbrook.
Rio Tinto offloaded this operation in September for $US 606 million so this means only Mount Thorley Warkworth and Hunter Valley Operations remain on the market.
According to Mach Energy’s website the Mount Pleasant mine is approved to produce up to 10.5 million tonnes of run of mine (ROM) thermal coal for international markets.
“MACH intends to develop the Mount Pleasant mine in accordance with MACH’s corporate strategy and the mine approvals in place. MACH expects first production of coal in late 2017,” it states.
“Due to its high quality and low impurities, Mount Pleasant is targeting clean energy coal that will be used in some of the world’s most advanced and highly efficient power plants, enabling lower global emissions and facilitating the transition to a low emissions economy.”
They go on to say the deposit has total marketable reserves of 474 million tonnes of thermal coal for export markets and it will be an open cut mine employing approximately 350 employees and contractors during operation.
Rio Tinto Copper & Coal chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said these agreements for over US$800 million in asset sales deliver significant value for their shareholders, with the potential for future royalties from Mount Pleasant.
“We believe Mount Pleasant can have a very positive future under its new owners with different priorities for development and capital allocation,” he said.
Rio Tinto has now announced or completed US$4.7 billion of divestments since January 2013.
The sale is subject to certain conditions precedent being met, including completion of the restructure of Coal & Allied and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2016.
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