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Queensland metal explorer bites the dust leaving hundreds out of work

Cudeco Rocklands project workers
Cudeco Rocklands project workers

A metal exploration company has entered receivership nearly a year after shutting down a $640 million metal project in northwest Queensland.

Major shareholder China Tonghai International Financial has appointed FTI Consulting senior managing directors Kelly-Anne Trenfield, Ian Francis and Michael Ryan as receivers and managers for CuDeco.

The decision came after China Tonghai finished a strategic review of alternative funding and restructuring options for the struggling proponent.

CuDeco closed down its Rocklands Copper Mine, 17km west of Cloncurry back in August 2018 with debts totalling about $6 million by the end of the same year.

Former workers say they are owed money

The project once employed 330 workers, some of whom recently claimed they were still owed money by the collapsed company. There has also allegedly been a lack of communication between the company and former staff since mining operations ended.

There is no indication of how many employees will be retained.

High profile departures before company went under

Several high profile CuDeco staff have already resigned including chairman Peter Hutchison, non-executive director Stephen Yip, and director Zhaohui Wu.

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Funding secured for comprehensive review

FTI said in partnership with financial advisors Argonaut Securities (Asia) it has secured funding to do a comprehensive technical and financial review of the Rocklands project thanks to lenders CTIFL, Noble Resources International and Valuestone Global Resource Fund through its subsidiary Gemstone 101.

“The receivers and lenders immediate priority is to explore all opportunities to maximise the value of the assets, either through the recapitalisation or restructure of the company with a view to financing the resumption of income generating activities at Rocklands, or by a trade sale,” FTI said in a public statement.

Argonaut will help carry out the asset realisation or corporate restructure of the company.

Enquiries about the future of the company can be directed to Argonaut executive director and head of Asia Greg Southee.

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