Coal company New Wilkie Energy enters administration

A privately held coal company has fallen into administration just months after it restarted operations at a mothballed mine, putting about 300 jobs at risk.

BRI Ferrier administrators Andrew Cummins, Jonathon Keenan, Peter Krejci and Stefan Dopking took control of New Wilkie Energy on December 27, eight months after the company resumed thermal coalmining at the Wilkie Creek mine near Dalby, about 200km west of Brisbane.

It’s understood mining operations will continue while the administrators assess the business.

New Wilkie bought the mine from US coal behemoth Peabody Energy in 2021, bringing it out of care and maintenance and restarting production in April 2023.

The company said at the time it would produce about 2.4 million tonnes of coal a year for Asian markets.

Thermal coal is used to generate electricity and New Wilkie’s launch in 2023 coincided with a steady decline in thermal coal prices following the Ukraine war shock in 2022 that sent prices soaring to more than $US400 ($A594) a tonne.

Thermal coal fetched an average of $US360 ($A535) per tonne across 2022, according to the December 2022 Resources and Energy Quarterly report.

The energy commodity is currently trading at $US127 ($A189) a tonne and the latest REQ report expects prices to drift lower into 2024-25.

New Wilkie inked a five-year contract with rail haulage company Aurizon in August to ship its coal to port and the company had planned to run the mine for at least 30 years.

A first meeting of creditors is booked for January 9.

The administrators could not be reached for comment and redirected queries to public relations agency Sefiani.

Sefiani did not respond to an interview request by the time this article was published.

New Wilkie also holds the Corvus Coal metallurgical coal project near Emerald in central Queensland that it says could produce up to 4.5 million tonnes of coking coal, or coal used in the steelmaking process, and one million tonnes of thermal coal per annum over a 20 to 30 year lifespan.

“The project requires further geological and environmental work to facilitate both a bankable feasibility study and the necessary approvals to commence mining operations,” the company states.

Alongside coal, the company held ambitions to develop solar and wind energy projects in Queensland.

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