Second joint venture dispute sends Vale and Aquila back to court

Mining giant Vale and Australian miner Aquila Resources will once gain head back to court, after the two companies disagreed over a valuation of their Belvedere coking coal joint venture in Queensland.

Mining giant Vale and Australian miner Aquila Resources will once gain head back to court, after the two companies disagreed over a valuation of their Belvedere coking coal joint venture in Queensland.

The Brazilian miner’s subsidiary Vale Belvedere exercised an option in June to acquire a 24.5% interest in the Belvedere hard coking coal project from Aquila’s wholly-owned subsidiary BD Coal.

Both companies then commissioned separate valuations for the project, which were exchanged on 20 August.

Because the valuations differed by as much as 10% and a compromise could not be agreed upon, BD Coal tried without success to appoint a determining valuer to settle the issue.

Vale Belvedere then lodged a claim with the Supreme Court of Queensland late last Friday, saying the report from BD Coal’s nominated valuer did not comply with the terms of the joint venture and therefore could not be considered a fair valuation.

Vale has also stated that the valuation process would be deferred until the outcome of the proceedings is known.

According to Aquila, BD Coal’s nominated valuer is an international investment bank ranked amongst the top ten for global mining transactions in the last two years.

“BD Coal’s preliminary view is that Vale Belvedere’s assertions essentially constitute differences of professional opinion on matters of valuation,” the company said in a statement.

“BD Coal is disappointed that time and money will be expended in hearing this matter in the courts rather than following the process for the resolution of differences in the two valuations that the parties agreed when they entered into the joint venture agreement.

“BD Coal intends to vigorously defend the proceedings.”

This is the second time the two companies have ended up at the Supreme Court of Queensland this year.

In March, Aquila took Vale-subsidiary Bowen Central Coal to court after the two could not agree on the infrastructure arrangements for the Eagle Downs coking coal project.

Aquila would prefer to export the coal out of the new Abbot Point terminal over Queensland Rail’s upgraded rail network, while Vale would prefer the Dalrymple terminal in Mackay.

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