Wollongong Coal gets extended lifeline

Wollongong Coal has had its cash advance facility increased and renewed.

The miner’s short-term drawdown facility for cash advances, with its major shareholder Jindal Steel & Power, has been increased from $150 million to $175 million.

The previous facility was valid until 31 March this year, and has now been renewed until the end of March next year.

According to the miner, aside from the increase in its drawdown capacity, all other terms of the facility remain the same.

This is good news for the miner, whose future looked uncertain as it faced increasing debt following the recent Planning and Assessment Commission findings, which has held up the proposed underground expansion project.

Wollongong Coal’s plans for a five-year mine life extension were stymied after the Planning and Assessment Commission responded to concerns lodged by WaterNSW that the mine could cause the loss of up to 2.6 gigalitres of water from its reservoirs each year, labelling it a “high risk situation”.

The PAC review panel cited concerns from the Office of Environment and Heritage that the expansion had the potential to drain two of three swamps at the Woronora Plateau, which are home to the giant dragonfly, listed as an endangered species in NSW.

Wollongong Coal said it would review the commission’s report before it determines a course of action, and noted the Department of Planning had already recommended the project for approval.

“Despite significant challenges Wollongong Coal has persevered with the unconditional support of its major shareholders and worked tirelessly for several years to ensure the proposal met the requirements of government policies,” the company said.

The new facility will enable the company to stay afloat during the review period.

Following the extension of its drawdown facility, Wollongong Coal stated that “the board of directors wishes to put on record their deep appreciation for the support extended by Jindal by providing this renewed facility with increased limit”.

The miner has to date drawn around $153.25 million under the facility, with the funds used to meet Wollongong Coal’s operational and developmental costs.





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