The UCG plant near Coolabunia soon after its initial construction (Photo: Cougar Energy) 

‘A Fantasy For Wounded Shareholders’

Moreton Resources CEO Jason Elks met with members of the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group on Tuesday night.

The KCCG is made up of the local landholders who fiercely opposed the original Cougar Energy UCG project.

Mr Elks said it had been a good meeting and “really productive”.

However, the KCCG later released a statement saying they believed the proposed coal mine by Moreton was “nothing more than a commercial exercise designed to recover shareholder losses after the company share price fell from 21 cents to 0.2 of a cent after the failed UCG trial”.

The KCCG says it has identified “several obvious and compelling deficiencies” in the mine proposal.

These included the absence of any local market for the coal, no export potential, and “the obvious environmental factors of dust, noise, lights, and blasting gases associated with a mine that starts just 3km from Kingaroy”.

“This project is fantasy for wounded shareholders,” KCCG spokesman John Dalton said.

“It’s on some of the most beautiful and productive farm land imaginable. In an age where the Government policy aims to double farm production and food security is considered more important than supporting coal-fired energy, this project is most unlikely to go ahead.

“We think they should just concentrate on rehabilitating the mess at the current UCG site, turn off those lights, and take their losses with them out of town.”

August 21, 2014

Moreton Resources CEO Jason Elks says Stanwell Corporation is rejecting savings of hundreds of millions of dollars – if not billions – by ruling out any future use of Moreton’s coal resource at Coolabunia.

Earlier this month, a Stanwell spokesman told southburnett.com.au: “We are not a potential customer or partner for Moreton Resources, formerly Cougar Energy, and we have communicated this to Moreton Resources.”

Mr Elks said he found this statement “quite odd”, particularly in light of the State Government’s “Stronger Choices” campaign which aims to pay down Queensland debt.

He said he believed Moreton would be able to mine coal cheaper than what can be sourced from the Meandu mine, even taking into account that Stanwell already owns this resource.

Mr Elks said he had spoken to Stanwell CEO Richard Van Breda who had told him “no at any cost” and “no matter how great the saving”.

“The government is saying they are going to sell assets but they are passing up hundreds of millions of dollars of savings,” Mr Elks said.

Mr Elks said Moreton had received some “nasty legal letters” from Stanwell but wasn’t interested in getting into a “bun fight” with the corporation.

However, he suggested the differential in cost could be up to $10/tonne, which could save any new owner of the Tarong power stations up to $30 million a year.

“We are extremely confident about our maths and we can do it cheaper than Stanwell,” he said.

“Why wouldn’t someone be interested in saving money?”

Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington told southburnett.com.au that Stanwell’s decision was “purely an operational matter” for the corporation.

* * *

Mr Elks sought to reassure landholders concerned about the continuing presence of infrastructure on the site left over from Cougar Energy’s failed underground coal gasification project.

He said Moreton aimed to have the above ground infrastructure removed from the site before Christmas.

Mr Elks said Moreton had knocked back an offer from the “UCG industry” to purchase the entire plant because the restructured company was determined to not have anything to do in future with UCG.  He said the equipment would probably be sold for scrap.

However some ancilliary equipment, such as forklifts, were expected to be sold to a South Burnett buyer.

Moreton also plans to approach local land owners about the future of the various water monitoring wells.

Mr Elks said if they wanted to use them, they would be left open, otherwise they would be capped with concrete.

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