Nathan Tinkler takes another run at coal, buys Peabody mine

Former billionaire Nathan Tinkler has re-entered the mining sector with the purchase of Peabody Energy’s Wilkie Creek coal mine for $150 million.

Tinkler said he had struck a deal with US investment bank Jefferies Group which will help to fund the deal.

Speaking to The Australian, Tinkler defended his ability to finance the project stating people would like to be “as broke as me”.

Tinkler said he had learned “a lot of lessons” in business and personally that were character building.

Debuting on the BRW Rich List in 2008 with $426 million at the age of 32, Tinkler built his fortune to almost $1.1 billion before a very public collapse of fortunes just years later.

Forced to sell his majority stake in Whitehaven Coal for just $300 million in 2013 to cover outstanding debts, his company Aston Metals was then placed into receivership.

Tinkler will also face the Independent Commission Against Corruption to answer questions over whether his Buildev property development group donated tens of thousands of dollars to a secret Liberal Party slush fund before the 2011 state election.

The money was allegedly used to bankroll Newcastle Liberal MP Tim Owen’s election campaign.

Tinkler is also alleged to have offered a bribe to former Labour MP Jodi McKay. It is claimed after she refused, Buildev paid to have leaflets smearing her campaign distributed in her electorate.

Due to appear at the ICAC on Friday, Tinkler said he is looking forward to clearing his name.

“I look forward to appearing at ICAC and setting the record straight,” he said.

“I have nothing to hide at ICAC and I’m looking forward to putting all the rumours to bed.”

Tinkler said he had been eyeing the mothballed Wilkie Creek mine for eighteen months when its price tag was much higher.

“I looked at it 18 months ago … at the time people in the market were saying they were looking for up to $600m and we probably weren’t that far away from that number then,” Tinkler said.

“Right now, I think we’re in a value part of the cycle,” he said.

“We have a strong record in the coal industry for identifying value and I think we’ve done it again here.”

Tinkler said he hoped to have the mine back up and running by the end of 2014.

Image: Daily Telegraph

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