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Bathurst raises $18.9m from existing shareholders

Bathurst raises $18.9m in bookbuild with existing shareholders

Sept. 3 (BusinessDesk) - Would-be coking coal miner Bathurst Resources has raised $18.9 million, before costs, from existing institutional, sophisticated and professional shareholders and is considering offering shares to the rest of its shareholding base on the same terms.

The new shares will be issued at 18 cents each. A small parcel of Bathurst shares traded unchanged at 20 cents apiece when the stock was released from a trading halt imposed yesterday morning on the NZX and ASX.

Allocation will occur this Friday.

New Zealand-domiciled since earlier this year, Bathurst's register is heavily dominated by Australian shareholders, and 49 percent of the company is held either by L1 Capital (14 percent), Coupland Cardiff (10 percent), or other institutional investors (25 percent).

The Bathurst board is considering a share placement plan to eligible shareholders, capped at 5 percent of total shares on issue prior to the latest placement, to allow other shareholders to participate.

The capital-raising comes just ahead of an expected green light from the High Court in Christchurch, granting Bathurst resource consents to develop the Escarpment open cut mine on the Denniston Plateau, above Westport.

The development, which targets high grade coking coal exports of one million tonnes a year within three years, has been hard-fought by environmental groups, for whom the Denniston is a last ditch fight for a bleak upland area that contains rare ecological values, as well as having been mined for more than a century.

Two further appeals are pending, but if the court clears the resource consents originally granted in August 2011, Bathurst will be able to start roading upgrades and other preparatory work which, according to its mining plan, will cost around $13.3 million in the first year.

More than $70 million of further development is planned over the following two years, and Bathurst said in today's NZX statement that it would "reassess its funding needs for the development of the Escarpment Mine and other development opportunities" once resource consents were confirmed.

Bathurst shareholders have had a rollercoaster ride since the shares listed in New Zealand in November 2010 at 74 cents, having gained around $1 a share within six months, and then plummeted to recent lows as uncertainty over resource consents dragged on.

Net proceeds of the latest placement would be used as working capital to fund existing operations, which includes domestic thermal coal production at other sites, and the Escarpment consenting process.


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