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Coal goes nowhere

IT’S lost a lucrative mining licence, its reputation has been harmed, and now NuCoal is paying to take non-existent coal to Newcastle from its “corrupt” Doyles Creek mine.

NuCoal will pay Port Waratah Coal Services $425,000 in 2015 as part of a “ship or pay” contract for handling Doyles Creek coal through the port, despite not a gram of coal being handled.

The company will continue paying “ship or pay” costs until 2024, although its licence over Doyles Creek was scrapped by the NSW government following an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry.

In its annual report, NuCoal said the group entered into a ship or pay agreement with Port Waratah Coal Services for “use of port and loading facilities for the Doyles Creek Project between 2015 and 2024”.

“As the group will be unable to deliver coal through the port due to the cancellation of the exploration licence 7270 [for Doyles Creek] by the NSW Government, the group will be liable to pay a contracted amount to PWCS under the terms of the agreement.”

A spokeswoman for NuCoal said the $425,000 represented the liability for financial year 2015, but the amounts payable in future depended on the tonnes allocated in any relevant year during the term of the contract.

NuCoal had not tried to renegotiate the contract with PWCS after the mine exploration licence was revoked, the spokeswoman said.

NuCoal is challenging in court both the ICAC over its finding that the Doyles Creek licence was “so tainted by corruption” that it should be cancelled, and the licence cancellation by the government.

NuCoal has rejected the ICAC finding that the company was aware of the alleged corruption surrounding the licence when it bought the privately owned Doyles Creek Mining from former union official John Maitland in 2009.

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