New Hope to resume New Acland negotiations

Image: New Hope Group

New Hope Group intends to pick up negotiations with the re-elected Queensland Labor Government to secure a stage three approval for the New Acland coal mine in Queensland.

The Queensland Government appointed Scott Stewart as the Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy after former resources minister Anthony Lynham stepped down.

After a string of stalled approvals, New Hope chairman Robert Millner said this would be the seventh Queensland Parliament to consider the stage three expansion of New Acland.

“As we are now aware, the labor government was re-elected and the company will now re-enter negotiations with the state government now the new minister has been sworn in,” Millner said in New Hope’s annual general meeting.

“We are hopeful there won’t be a need to revisit the history of the approvals process with the new minister given this will be the seventh Queensland Parliament to consider our application.

“Swift approvals for stage three  are not just essential for our workforce and the future of the project. It is the wider Queensland economy that continues to suffer the economic and social cost of these delays.”

New Hope is anticipating further redundancies to its workforce due to the stalling of New Acland’s stage three approval.

It has been forced to lay off 198 employees and contractors, with another 90 employees to leave at the end of November.

The company is confident in the coal market’s future, citing its increased production in the 2020 financial year.

New Hope produced 11.3 million tonnes of coal and sold 11.5 million tonnes during the period, underpinned by its Bengalla joint venture project in New South Wales.

The company holds an 80 per cent share of Bengalla Mining Company with Taipower owning the remaining 20 per cent.

A recovery in Asian demand has seen the price of Newcastle thermal coal increase by 17 per cent since July.

“For most Asian countries, thermal coal will continue to be a significant component of their energy mix for many years to come, underpinned by continued investment in new coal fired power stations,” New Hope stated.

“The company remains well positioned to emerge from the current economic downturn as a stronger, more efficient business.”

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