Solid Energy sells tiddler coal mine to Aussie outfit
Dec. 21 (BusinessDesk) – State-owned coal-miner Solid Energy Ltd. has sold a small, recently closed underground coal mine to Australian-based Crusader Coal Ltd., raising prospects of a small number of new mining jobs on the West Coast of the South Island.
No sale price has been disclosed for the Terrace mine, near Reefton, but it is understood to have been a little more than $1 million. The mine employed around 12 miners on a single shift before Solid Energy closed it in June 2009 because it was no longer commercially viable.
While reopening the mine will take some months, it will eventually be offering work that could be attractive to some of the 112 staff laid off at the Pike River coal mine, after it went into receivership this month, less than a month since a series of explosions killed 29 miners who were in the mine at the time.
A Crusader director, Bernie Lambley, said the sale had only been announced now because of growing rumours in the community that the mine was reopening.
At its peak in 2002/03, the Terrace mine was producing a relatively small 73,000 tonnes of sub-bituminous coal annually for the South Island domestic market. The mine first began operating in the early 1900’s.
“Once everything is finalised and settlement takes place, we will be in a better position to know how many mineworkers and support staff the operation will require,” Lambley said. “Until then, we only wish to say that Crusader Coal is owned by a small team of successful underground coal mining professionals who are looking forward to reopening the mine and participating in the local community.
“Given the opportunity and the support of the local community, Crusader Coal is confident in its ability to successfully reopen and safely operate the Terrace Coal Mine”.
Solid Energy had given the Terrace mine one last examination this year, before deciding to quit the asset, the company’s chief operating officer, Barry Bragg, said in a statement.