THE race to recommission Dartbrook coal mine in 2023 looks to be nearing a resolution as the mine's owner suggests a merging of competing offers.
In February this year, Dartbrook's owner Australian Pacific Coal (AQC) received an offer from a major shareholder, Trepang Services, to purchase the mine. AQC has received four separate offers relating to the mine's operation since then, two of which involved coal magnate Nathan Tinkler.
Earlier this month Trepang made the "unexpected" move to terminate their bid, as AQC was on the verge of selling. At this time, AQC entered a non-binding agreement for a 50:50 joint venture in the mine with Queensland company M Resources.
Another Queensland resources company, Tetra Resources, and coal management firm, Javelin Private Group, then made an offer to AQC which would see Tetra hold a 40 per cent share in Dartbrook. This offer was backed last week by Trepang, which, to progress the deal, said it would agree to a moratorium on the $60 million in debt owing to it and owners John "Foxy" Robinson and Nicholas Paspaley by AQC.
On Wednesday morning, AQC told the market conversations were underway for all four parties to enter into a joint venture.
"Trepang has advised the company that subject to agreement being reached on terms it is broadly supportive of a proposal that would see Trepang, M Resources Pty Ltd, Tetra and AQC all enter into a joint venture arrangement to recommission the Dartbrook coal mine," AQC said.
AQC is also undertaking an entitlement offer which allows investors to purchase extra shares in order to raise $100 million for debt repayment and to facilitate Dartbrook's restart.
Trepang was critical of this entitlement offer last week, calling it "highly dilutive". However, in their notice to the market on Wednesday, AQC said Trepang had indicated its support of capital raising and that it may take up "all or some" of the entitlements.