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Linc Energy plans to reopen disused Rio Tinto coal mine

World Coal,

Rio Tinto has agreed to give away the disused Blair Athol coal mine in Australia to Linc Energy, which plans to reopen the mine to strengthen its coal portfolio.

There is no upfront cost for the acquisition by Linc Energy subsidiary New Emerald Coal, which includes the mining tenure, on-site assets and infrastructure. Rio Tinto and its Blair Athol partners - Leichardt Coal, Japan's Electric Power Development Company Ltd. and Japan Coal Development Company Ltd. - have agreed to contribute to the site rehabilitation costs from 2016 to 2019.

Rio Tinto ceased operations at the Blair Athol mine in November 2012, as the company was losing money amid a coal price slump. New Emerald Coal expects the acquisition to be completed within six months, and mining to recommence shortly after. The company will reopen the mine with a view to produce up to 3 million tpy of thermal coal.

Strengthen coal portfolio

Michael Mapp, Linc Energy President (Coal), said the purchase would deliver production capacity to New Emerald Coal and add value as Linc Energy strengthens its coal asset portfolio.

“The Blair Athol Mine offers a unique opportunity to New Emerald Coal by adding an established asset with minimal efforts and costs to restart the mine,” Mapp added.

The Linc Energy subsidiary will re-open the mine following the transfer of tenure, creating over 100 jobs at the mine site near Clermont in Queensland.

“Linc Energy has a proud history of investing in the local communities in which we operate, and New Emerald Coal will work to fill these jobs locally wherever possible,” commented Mapp.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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