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.
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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.