Bathurst Resources Limited (BTU) has announced it has entered into a heads of agreement with Westport Harbour to gain exclusive use of a coal handling facility to ship coal from the company’s Buller project. This is a key milestone in finalising the logistics chain that will see the value of the Buller coal field realised in international markets. Under the agreement, Westport Harbour will construct a coal unloading system, stockpile area, ship loader and a wharf.
Coal will be transported by rail from the Buller coal project to the port from where Westport Harbour will provide coal handling services to receive, unload, stockpile, store and load vessels. Bathurst will pay Westport Harbour for the use of the facility and the provision of coal handling services. Coal volumes are expected to reach 2 million tonnes within 3 years. The project will inject significant investment into Westport providing employment not just in the construction phase but also in the ongoing provision of coal handling services.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Bathurst’s CEO Hamish Bohannan said: “We look forward to working with Westport Harbour to finalise the agreement that should lead to the development of not only the necessary infrastructure for the project but also a first class facility for Westport”
Bathurst Resources Limited is an Australian listed company focused on becoming a producer of high quality coking and thermal coal to niche export markets. The Buller Coal project is Bathurst Resources’ flagship project and is known for its high quality, low ash and high fluidity coking coals. Bathurst acquired the Buller project through the acquisition of L&M Coal Limited. The Buller project area comprises three permits surrounding state-owned Solid Energy’s Stockton opencast mining operation. In November 2010 Bathurst entered into a Share Purchase Agreement with Galilee Energy Limited to acquire its New Zealand coal assets owned by its wholly owned subsidiary Eastern Resources Group Limited. The acquisition, which is expected to be completed during the March quarter 2011, includes the Whareatea West coal project adjacent to the Buller project as well as two operating coal mines – Cascade adjacent to the Buller operations and Takitimu in Ohai region of New Zealand.