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Baralaba hits sales record despite appointment of administrators

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World Coal,

Cockatoo Coal’s Baralaba mine continued to ramp up production in 4Q15 with the introduction of a second large excavator fleet in November, despite the appointment of administrators. Coal sales totalled 462 681 t for the quarter compared to 112 491 t in 4Q14.

Operations at the mine will continue as the administrators investigate available options – including a restructure proposal from an existing shareholder or the sale of the mine – so as to maintain cash flow and preserve its value.

The company did however revise its mine plan to focus on the highest-quality low volatile PCI coal. In addition, it commenced productivity and utilisation improvement initiatives and began backfilling the Baralaba Central Void to reduce financial assurance commitments.

The deadline for submitting an interest in buying the mine is 29 January. The shareholder’s restructuring plan will also be submitted by that date with the aim of substantially progression a preferred option by the next creditors meeting on 8 March.

The company also said that the approvals timeline for the Baralaba Expansion Project remains on track for the scheduled increase in production from 1 million tpa to 3.5 million tpa.

On 15 December, the Queensland Land Court recommended that the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection approve the company’s Environmental Authority (EA) amendment application. The amended EA application would allow Cockatoo to boost production at Baralaba to its 3.5 million tpa target and begin mining activities on mining lease area, MLA80201.

Development work on Stage 2 of the Baralaba Expansion Project continued in 4Q15 with construction of the new train load out facility more than 98% complete at the end of the quarter.

Other exploration and development work continues in care and maintenance mode with the exception of the Dingo West exploration programme, which is being managed with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC).

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