Whitehaven Coal’s Werris Creek mine. Picture: Craig Greenhill
Whitehaven Coal’s Werris Creek mine. Picture: Craig Greenhill

$1b CQ mine ‘on track’ despite bid to end company

WHITEHAVEN Coal has allayed fears its mega Central Queensland mine could be at risk after more than 100 investors filed a resolution urging the company to plan its own closure.

Activist shareholder group Market Forces organised the resolution earlier this month as part of a broader attempt to force fossil fuel companies to act on climate change.

The group of investors wanted the company to question the future commercial viability of coal.

But Whitehaven rejected the investors’ bold play during its full year FY2020 financial results announcement this week.

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Whitehaven Coal managing director Paul Flynn
Whitehaven Coal managing director Paul Flynn

“The company neither has nor intends to produce plans to close down its mining operations – to do so would be completely against the interests of the company’s shareholders,” a company spokeswoman said.

“Whitehaven therefore opposes Market Forces seeking to requisition resolutions which are contrary to the interests of Whitehaven’s shareholders.”

The NSW-based miner has 10 current projects – nine in NSW and one being the proposed $1 billion Winchester South mine near Moranbah.

A Whitehaven spokeswoman said this project remained on track to be in production by 2023.

“We are drafting the environmental impact statement,” she said.

“The (investor) resolution has no impact on Winchester South.”

The State Government declared the proposed metallurgical coal mine a Coordinated Project in 2019.

It is expected to provide 500 jobs during the two-year construction phase and 450 ongoing jobs once the mine is up and running.

A map of Whitehaven Coal's proposed Winchester South project.
A map of Whitehaven Coal's proposed Winchester South project.

During its results announcement this week, the company also expressed optimism about future coal prices.

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“The short-term outlook for thermal and metallurgical coal is dependent upon post-pandemic economic and industrial recovery in our region,” it stated.

“In recent weeks, there have been positive signs in the affected markets that industrial activity is recovering, resulting in the resumption of term contract shipping schedules and increasing spot demand.

“The long-term outlook remains positive as the need for industrial products such as steel, cement and alloys, and electricity generation underpin future growth in Asia, Whitehaven’s key export market.”



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