(Australian Associated Press)
Former mining tycoon Nathan Tinkler is betting on a strong future for coal in Australia, despite plummeting coal prices and the increasing global focus on limiting climate change.
“Australia is in a different position to the rest of the world, we have very high quality coal that will continue to be in demand,” he told Sky Business.
“Part of Australia’s problem is that we are grouped with low-quality producers such as Indonesia and China. We also have a very strong activist and media presence which makes people think its all just black stuff.”
Despite the pressure on prices over the last few years, demand for Australian coal from countries such as South Korea, Japan and Taiwan has remained strong and will continue to be so, Mr Tinkler said.
The former billionaire, whose debt-fuelled mining empire collapsed in 2012 following the slide in coal prices, is now trying to find his way back in to the coal sector.
Last month, mining junior Australian Pacific Coal, which he now heads, agreed to buy an 83.33 per cent stake in the closed Dartbrook mine in the Hunter Valley from struggling mining giant Anglo American.
The ASX-listed junior needs to pay $25 million in cash by the end of January, and a similar amount in the form of future royalty payments.
It plans to develop a five million tonnes per annum, open pit mine at the project.
The company will tap existing shareholders and sophisticated investors to raise $30 million, but most of the funds required to close the deal are expected to come from Mr Tinkler himself and current financial backers that include the Paspaley pearling family and Darwin developer John Robinson.
“I have a very good record in the coal industry, I have good knowledge of the basins, and that’s where I will spend my time in the future,” Mr Tinkler said.