Coal business 'humming'

Buller coalmine owner Bathurst Resources has increased its profit and says business is "humming''.

It has reported a net after-tax profit of $45 million, up on $5.5 million on the previous year.

Stockton, a joint venture with Talley's, exported 1.1 million tonnes of coal, and sales and production targets were met during the year.

The company has 570 staff, 29 of whom were paid over $100,000. Stockton continued to benefit from strong export prices.

"While coal remains an essential part of steel-making, with no known substitute, and domestic demand for our product to fuel local industries and supplement renewable energy generation continues, we will be here to provide it,'' chairman Toko Kapea and chief executive Richard Tacon said in the annual report.

"In short: business is humming at Bathurst and we are optimistic about the future.''

Applications for key exploration permits were submitted for the Denniston, Millerton, Fly Creek and Blackburn permits.

More recently, coking coal prices have softened, largely due to domestic policies in China.

The outlook for average spot prices of hard coking coal is a gradual recovery this year, with India a source of growth.

There were eight shipments in the September quarter from Stockton, including a trial shipment of Stockton's new Granity product. - Greymouth Star


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