Further exploration has been suspended by West Coast mine
developer Bathurst Resources as it waits out a global coal
At the end of March, premium hard coking coal prices declined
to $US99.50 ($NZ115.30) a tonne, the lowest since January
last year. Yesterday, futures contracts were between $US115
Bathurst had to suspend operations to start mining export
grade hard coking coal from the Denniston plateau, above
Westport, and implement cost savings across the company,
until global prices rise and stabilise.
''The focus this quarter has been developing the domestic
mines to a cash positive position to support the whole
business,'' the activities report said.
During the quarter, Bathurst achieved production of 90,263
tonnes from its three domestic South Island coal mines, with
sales of 93,985 tonnes, up 22% on a year ago.
''The company is continuing to monitor global coking coal
pricing, which has seen a slight upturn in recent weeks.
However, that upward trend will need to continue and be
sustained before any commitments are made for long-term
contract pricing,'' the report said.
While more than 20 exploration holes had been drilled and
some trenching excavations had been done during the quarter,
further exploration had been suspended, Bathurst said.
In mid-April, Bathurst raised $A7.39 million ($NZ8.03
million) in a private placement, and signalled the
possibility of a 1:10 entitlement issue to shareholders,
which could raise up to $6 million.