Linc resurrects mothballed Blair Athol mine

At least one business analyst has told the media the energy company would be lucky to scrape a profit, but Linc Energy’s coal president Michael Mapp has dismissed this.

“There will obviously be a lot of opinions from a lot of people, but currently our business plan has it generating a profit and we have been working for 12 months on this with a budget and due diligence,” he told Shift Miner.

Under its subsidiary New Emerald Coal, the mine is expected to be operational within six months and to pump out three million tonnes of thermal coal a year.

Mr Mapp said the acquisition was part of the company’s strategy to diversify out of oil and gas into coal and build up its coal assets.

“Blair Athol mine offers a unique opportunity to New Emerald by establishing a new asset with minimal efforts and costs to restart the mine,” he said.

Mr Mapp said that along with the Theresa Coal Project in the Bowen Basin, Linc Energy had other assets in the Clermont area and a number of exploration projects underway.

Under the purchase agreement, New Emerald will have access to train-loading facilities,  workforce accommodation and port and rail capacity to Abbot Point.

“We’ve got other assets in the area and we also have a lot of other coal exploration in that area,” Mr Mapp told Shift Miner.

On its own, the mine is expected to have a life of 10 years but with the development of Linc’s existing coal tenements in the Clermont area, the mine life could be extended to 30 years.

Mr Mapp said they would target a different coal seam to what was mined previously – with the same equipment – and would use a high-wall method.

The mine would also have a different operational system to Rio Tinto’s and one cost structure, which is where there would be cost savings.

Locals have welcomed the move, saying it is just what the town has needed, and Linc Energy has said there are 265 job vacancies to fill, with recruitment to start within weeks.

Mr Mapp said the company’s intention is to employ locally.

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