Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pigs may fly at Wongai

It is now past three years since I posted scepticism on the viability of a Cape York Coal Rush? Gene Tunny at QEW also suggested that those with environmental concerns maybe shouldn't worry too much: Don’t expect Cape York coal mining any time soon.

So it was with interest that I noted this week the list of projects for FNQ included the $500 million Wongai coal project north of Cooktown on Cape York. A rather modest project at 1.5 mta coking coal for the capex. Back in the coal rush days, only a month after the 2012 landslide election result, the new Guvmint gave it a priority project status with the Co-ordinator-General. The terms of reference for the EIS were posted in July 2012, and since then nothing.

Without delving too deeply the proponent is Aust-Pac Capital, as trustee I think for Wongai Trust which apparently is associated with indigenous landholder groups including connections to Balkanu and Gerhardt Pearson. They have subsequently entered into a farm-in arrangement with Bounty (ASX:BNT) who gain a share for doing further work including the EIS. Bounty would look to be a contract miner which has sort of run out of contracts now that coal mining has turned down. They do however have experience in underground mining and some equipment in a shed in Mackay.

With things tough in coal Bounty has done some corporate restructuring and issued a prospectus to raise up to $4.5 million to fund the Wongai project work and EIS. The prospectus was extended twice but then closed after failing to raise the minimum required funds. Unsurprisingly punters were reluctant to contribute their money to this project. Bounty has announced they are now in discussions regarding other financing options.

Surely there is a Chinese billionaire or two out there with a few million cash to spare?

Links: Conservationists fear Bounty Mining coal mine on Cape York could destroy Great Barrier Reef

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