QMEB ยป Surat Basin coal mine creditors remove voluntary administrators
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Surat Basin coal mine creditors remove voluntary administrators

Wilkie Creek coal mine
Wilkie Creek coal mine

People owed money rejected an insolvency firm hired to sell a fossil fuel operation in Queensland’s Western Downs region.

A majority of creditors voted to remove BCI Ferrier as voluntary administrators. Principals Andrew Cummins, Peter Krejci, John Keenan and Stefan Dopking will no longer manage the sale of New Wilkie Energy’s Wilkie Creek Coal Mine in Kogan, 120km northwest of Toowoomba.

Each of them would have been paid $803 an hour except for Dopking who could have earnt $715 an hour, according to the first report to creditors.

“We estimate that this administration may cost approximately total $4 million (exclusive of Goods and Services Tax, disbursements and legal costs, as necessary) to complete as a voluntary administration,” they said in the report.

KordaMentha partners David Johnstone, Richard Tucker and David Osborne will be the new voluntary administrators

“The replacement voluntary administrators will take over control of the companies’ affairs and all future reporting requirements. We intend to work with the replacement voluntary administrators over the coming days to expedite a smooth transition of the matter,” BCI said in a circular to employees, creditors and suppliers.

The remarks came after the proponent ordered an “urgent assessment” of its financial and operation position to help avoid a complete trading halt.

The mine is widely reported to be suffering financial turmoil due to a 57.5 per cent drop in thermal coal prices to US$170 (A$254) a tonne since May 2023.

BCI had intended to advertise the operation for sale early in 2024. The proposed transaction could affect about 30 employees.

“It is our understanding that employee wages are paid to 31 December 2023. The staff continue to be employed and wages will be paid in the ordinary course of business,” the firm said.

“We note that employees have a statutory priority of payment in respect of outstanding entitlements, such as superannuation, annual leave, long service leave and redundancy (to the extent applicable). Should the companies ultimately be placed into liquidation, then the government Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme is also available as a safety net.”

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Further enquiries can be directed to Michael Italiano by phoning 02 8257 3078, Nicola Panizza on 07 3338 0247, or through emailing nwe@kordamentha.com

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