Coal mining in an open pit — Worker is looking on the huge open pit.
Coal mining in an open pit — Worker is looking on the huge open pit.

Brisbane billionaire may be saviour for Bounty Mining

A WHITE knight has emerged as a potential saviour for the owners of a Blackwater mine.

Bounty Mining, which acquired the Cook Colliery near Blackwater and other assets, has lost a huge pile of dough since floating last year and now faces a “material uncertainty” about its ability to survive, The Courier Mail reports.

It reports that low-profile Brisbane billionaire Chris Wallin and his QCoal Group have put forward an $85 million plan to recapitalise Bounty Mining.

It’s the third rescue scheme that Wallin has pitched since last month to Bounty, which until now has recommended shareholders approve an alternative $71 million package proposed by its biggest investor, Amaroo Blackdown Investments.

In a statement to the ASX on Thursday, Bounty said it was assessing the latest unsolicited QCoal offer, which would give it seats on the board and not require a vote by shareholders.

The dire circumstances in which Bounty now finds itself stand in stark contrast to the promise of its IPO, which saw it raise $18 million and float in June last year.

At the time it was the biggest coal company float in eight years and followed an earlier $17 million round of fundraising.

With Millenium Coal founder Gary Cochrane at the helm, Bounty focused on acquiring distressed assets in the Bowen and Laura basins.

As well as Cook Colliery, it picked up assets from Glencore for an additional $10 million. But dramas with equipment, finance and falling coal prices exacted a huge toll and Cochrane quit in February after 10 years as chairman and CEO.

Bounty suffered a $34.4 million loss in the last financial year and $24.9 million in red ink in 2018.

Negative cash flows amounted to $27.7 million in the year to June 30 and current liabilities have blown out to $35 million.

Shares, which were issued at 35c and hit an all-time high of 47c, now languish at a mere 7.9c. Plenty of investors must be hoping that Wallin, a former government geologist now worth an estimated $2.1 billion, can turn things around.



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