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Solid Energy full ownership of Spring Creek Underground Mine

2 February 2012

Solid Energy resumes full ownership of Spring Creek Underground Mine

Solid Energy has bought back Cargill’s 49% share of Spring Creek Mining Company, the owner of Spring Creek Underground Mine near Greymouth.

Cargill joined as the minority joint venture partner in March 2007 and supported a development programme at the mine which has provided four years of coal production. Solid Energy has been involved in Spring Creek since its initial development in 2002 and continues as the mine operator, employing its 230 mineworkers, tradespeople and professional specialists.

Solid Energy Chief Operating Officer, Barry Bragg, says Solid Energy appreciated Cargill’s contribution to the mine and input as a partner in the both the joint venture and in developing markets for its semi-soft coking coal.

“Spring Creek was Cargill’s first investment in physical coal mining and we have always appreciated that and taken it as a mark of confidence that they decided to investigate this side of the business with Solid Energy,” he says. “In terms of coal, Cargill is a trader, shipper and marketer, so at the end of the day we understand that physical mining is not really part of their business and that they have now decided to exit this end of it.”

Mr Bragg says the mine is once again moving to a strong development focus, with several months of limited coal output as new roadways are constructed and underground infrastructure installed to provide access to approximately 3 million tonnes of coal in the Rapahoe sector to the north of the area already mined. Spring Creek’s high-energy low-sulphur coal is supplied to West Coast and upper South Island industrial customers and is exported through Lyttelton Port of Christchurch for use in steelmaking.

Bruce Blakeman, Cargill Vice President, Corporate Affairs Asia-Pacific, says: “We have developed a strong relationship with Solid Energy in recent years and remain committed to this in the future. Cargill is a major originator, shipper, trader and marketer of coal. As such, we will focus on maintaining a strong commercial relationship with Solid Energy, who will continue to apply their significant mining expertise with regard to Spring Creek.”

ENDS

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