Aquila Resources this morning reported a $12.4 million net loss after tax for the six months up to 31 December 2009, its half-yearly financial results released this morning.
In the corresponding period in the 2008-09 financial year, the company reported a loss of $1.12 million.
According to the miner, the losses were due to an increased exploration and feasibility study expenditure of $30.9 million, as it sought to prove the viability of several projects, including the Eagle Downs joint venture coking coal mine.
However, the company also said the Isaac Plains coal mine enjoyed a record production and sales performance, delivering 1.5 million tonnes and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $15.4 million respectively.
“Earnings from the Isaac Plains coal mine are expected to be significantly higher in the second half of the current financial year due to forecast increases in both metallurgical and thermal coal prices,” the company said.
The news comes only two days after Aquila reported a dispute over the Eagle Downs project with joint venture partner Bowen Central Coal (BCC).
BCC, a subsidiary of Brazilian mining giant Vale, has indicated it would not sign off on infrastructure arrangements for the project by the deadline, which elapses today.
The losses, coupled with the uncertainty created by the dispute, are likely to cause further hits to the company’s share price.
The prices have slipped 6.25% from $10.23 at the start of the week to $9.59 at yesterday’s close.
The recently completed studies for the project confirmed the viability of developing it as a multi-seam longwall mine.
The company said the studies estimated an initial production rate of 4.6 million tonnes of coal per annum from one longwall.
This could increase to eight million tonnes per annum if a second longwall was installed.
The company also yesterday finalised an agreement with China’s Baosteel Group, which saw $285.6 million invested into the miner.