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Tinkler makes return to coal industry

World Coal,

Nathan Tinkler, the man who has already won and lost one fortune betting on the Australian coal industry, has taken the helm at junior exploration company, Australian Pacific Coal.

Tinkler has been appointed managing director of the metallurgical coal development company, in which he owns about a 40% stake. It will be his first role at an ASX-listed company. Australian Pacific’s shares currently trade at less than a cent.

Tinkler will be paid AUS$500 000 a year plus a sign-on bonus of AUS$200 000. Paul Byrne, the outgoing managing director, has been appointed to the role of Executive Director of Projects, while Peter Ziegler remains as Chairman.

Tinkler’s wealth reached a high of AUS$1.13 billion in 2012 after his Aston Resources merged with Whitehaven Coal. In contrast, Australia Pacific boasts a market capitalization of just AUS$7.45 million, according to Google Finance.

Australia Pacific’s key asset is the Mt Hillalong project in the northern Bowen Basin of Queensland and next to Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek opencast mine, which has produced almost 4 million t of hard coking coal and almost 2 million t of thermal in the nine months to September.

According to the company’s latest annual report, the Mt Hillalong project “offers prospectivity for proving underground resources of metallurgical coal in the Rangals [coal measure] and open cut coal in the Fort Coopers [coal measure].”

Australia Pacific other exploration targets include two in the tenements in the Blackwater project – Cooroorah and Dingo – and the South Clermont tenement south of the current Clermont coal mine.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Tinkler said that he’d "found a company with some exploration assets that have got really good upside".

"That is traditionally how I've found my shareholders value - finding those exploration assets, bringing them further down the development cycle or into development. And that's what I've found here again.”

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