Mining trouble looms as creditors decide fate of WICET co-owner

A MINER recently placed in receivership, leaving hundreds of jobs in limbo, could create another blow to an already struggling Gladstone coal export terminal.

Creditors for Caledon Pty Ltd met for the first time yesterday since the miner was placed in receivership on May 12.

Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal.
Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal. Mara Pattison-Sowden

Caledon, the company behind underground Blackwater mine Cook Colliery, was also a part-owner of Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal.

Now in care and maintenance with administrators PPB Advisory, creditors have met to discuss what's next for the miner's assets.


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It's the latest trouble to hit WICET after it lost two of its original owners, Bandanna Energy and Cockatoo Coal in 2015 due to bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, concern is rife over WICET's rumoured inability to repay 19 of its lenders an estimated $3.9 billion. It's believed Fort Street Advisers are working for WICET, and McGrath Nicol advisory firm has been engaged by the lenders.

The Cook Colliery longwall.
The Cook Colliery longwall. Contributed

PPB Advisory's Grant Sparks, Stephen Longley and Martin Ford have been appointed administrators of Caledon Coal Pty Ltd and four related companies: CC Pty Ltd, Blackwater Coal Pty Ltd, Bowen Basin Pastoral Company Pty Ltd and Guangdong Rising (Australia) Pty Ltd.

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"Following our appointment as administrators of Caledon, our primary focus is to work with all stake- holders to assess the business and explore all options to restructure the business for the future," Mr Sparks said.

Earlier this year about 100 workers were stood down without pay from Caledon's Cook Colliery mine after flooding damaged part of the underground mine.

The flooding damaged the longwall, which Caledon said was responsible for 85% of its coal production. At the time, CFMEU Mining and Energy Division Queensland District vice-president Glenn Power asked the company to cease its "path of destruction".

"Local workers and their families deserve good, steady jobs and it's time mining giants are held to account in this distorted industrial relations system," Mr Power said.

WICET, which is also owned by Glencore, Wesfarmers Resources, Yancoal Australia, Aquila Resources and Northern Energy Corporation, was the first coal export project in Queensland to be privately owned and funded.

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