JOBS LOST:  Cook Colliery mine workers and  CFMEU officials  protest outside the Chinese Embassy in Canberra.
JOBS LOST: Cook Colliery mine workers and CFMEU officials protest outside the Chinese Embassy in Canberra. Rebecca Nicholson

Collapsed CQ coal mine sale blocked by Chinese owner

THE potential saviour of a collapsed Central Queensland mine has been delayed by the mine's Chinese owners.

Glencore-backed Bounty Mining has emerged as the likely buyer of Cook Colliery coal mine in Blackwater.

The mine, formerly owned by Caledon Coal, has been in care and maintenance since March after a flooding event in its longwall, one of the factors which led to its demise.

In May Caledon Coal was placed in the hands of administrators.

With most of Caledon's assets wound up, PPB Advisory launched a sales campaign for the mine, with a buyer considered the best outcome.

The failure of Caledon Coal, which buckled under a debt of about $4 billion, cost the jobs of about 150 Central Queensland blue-collar miners.

If Bounty Mining acquires Cook Colliery, a liquidators' report said former workers could be entitled to 100 per cent of their redundancy entitlements. Previous reports said the workers would receive 52 cents in the dollar, compared to those employed by Caledon receiving the full amount.

However, the sale agreement has had challenges, including the reluctance of former Caledon owner, Guangdong Rising Asset Management, to sell.

The Chinese state-owned entity's refusal to sell led to PPB making an application to the Supreme Court of Queensland.

On October 27 the Supreme Court of Queensland ordered "liquidators have the ability to complete the Bounty ASA (asset sales agreement) free of any security interests held by the secured creditors".

The Cook Colliery sale is expected to settle by November 25.

PPB Advisory said other factors which led to the mine's demise included Caledon Coal's take-or-pay agreement for its part-ownership of Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal.

Meanwhile liquidators are liaising with "interested parties" for the sale of Caledon Coal's 15 per cent stake in WICET.

Caledon became the third of eight original owners of the Gladstone terminal to collapse, leaving the remaining five in a tough position.



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