Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Solid Energy's Southland land holdings under review

Solid Energy's Southland land holdings under review

By Pattrick Smellie

Aug. 31 (BusinessDesk) - Solid Energy will review its massive land holdings in Southland as part of decisions due by the end of the year on its plans to develop new industries from lignite, a low grade coal the state-owned coal miner says could be used to make fertiliser and diesel.

Outgoing chairman John Palmer told a media briefing in Wellington the company will look to sell land it doesn't need once it settles on the size and scope of its controversial plans.

"We have for some time been looking to see what options we have in relation to land holdings to cash out some of those," said Palmer. He was announcing writedowns of $151.7 million on underground coal mines and experiments in renewable energy that produced a $40.2 million loss in the year to June 30 and prompted restructuring that could cost 370 jobs above and below ground.

The company spent about $70 million in the mid-2000's buying up mainly farmland in eastern Southland, where it now owns more than 3,000 hectares sitting atop lignite reserves of around 1.35 billion tonnes.

Solid Energy believes the deposits could be worth billions of dollars in exports and import replacement, but the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has slammed the proposed processes for their high output of greenhouse gases.

However, Solid Energy reaffirmed its lignite intentions this week as part of what chief executive Don Elder described as a "refined" strategy that will concentrate on opencast mining and developing underground coal seam gas extraction and lignite conversion industries.

The company has yet to commit capital to either initiative, but is expecting to consider plans for lignite development by the end of the year.

The decisions come as the company faces pressure to prepare itself for partial privatisation.

Also associated with the land, much of it currently dairy farms, is a substantial shareholding in Fonterra.

Shares in the dairy cooperative are valued in Solid Energy's books at $4.25 million, representing another asset the company could realise to shore up its balance sheet.

Investment analysts have been critical in the past of Solid Energy's "land banking" for access to the lignite resource.

Palmer said the farmland review was "something to be actioned this financial year."

Asked whether it could make a material contribution to Solid Energy's balance sheet woes, he said: "It could be significant, but a lot of it depends on the operating footprint that we think we would make. We can't make those decisions just yet."

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 


Energy Resources Aotearoa: Doubling Of Coal Use Shows Need For Local Natural Gas

New figures showing a near doubling of coal-fired electricity generation highlight New Zealand’s energy shortage and the need for natural gas as a lower carbon alternative, according to Energy Resources Aotearoa... More>>


E Tu: ‘Sense Of Mourning’ As Norske Skog Mill Set To Close

Workers at Norske Skog’s Tasman Mill now know they’ll be losing their jobs in little over a month’s time.
On Wednesday afternoon, workers were told the mill will be stopping production from the end of June... More>>




Stats NZ: Card Spending Sees Strong Growth In May

Seasonally adjusted card spending rose by $189 million (2.3 percent) between April 2021 and May 2021, Stats NZ said today.
Spending rose across all industries for the first time since New Zealand moved to level 1 in June 2020... More>>




Auction: 1.4 Million In Rare Vintage Watches, Gems, Jewels & Diamonds Go Under The Hammer At Webb’s

An auction event showcasing over 1.4 Million dollars in rare jewels, gems, diamonds and vintage watches is due to take place this Sunday by Auckland based auction house Webb’s... More>>

Catalist: NZ’s New SME Stock Exchange, Gets Licence To Go Public

New Zealand has a new stock exchange – designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to raise up to $20 million a year from the public.
Called Catalist, the exchange has already been successfully working the private investment sector.... More>>

E-Commerce: Over 40% Of Those Engaged In The Bitcoin Community Are Millennials

Bitcoin has emerged to be a popular topic among millennials with digital currency increasingly being viewed as a potential source of creating wealth through investments. The interest in bitcoin by millennials signals the role this age group plays in the possible realization of the digital currency’s mass adoption... More>>