Poland's JSW seeks ministry approval to buy Prairie Mining assets – CEO

KATOWICE, Poland, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Poland's state-run JSW is awaiting approval from the Energy Ministry in its bid to acquire the Polish mining assets of Australia's Prairie Mining, JSW said on Wednesday.

Prairie Mining has been developing coking coal projects at the Jan Karski mine in southeast Poland and the Debiensko mine in Silesia, Poland's industrial heartland in the south. JSW has said it wants to increase its coking coal output.It is unlikely that the whole process of assessing Prairie Mining assets will finish in September

"We maintain that we would like to take over Prairie Mining assets, however we still need to obtain the owner's approvals, which means that the Energy Ministry opinion is necessary," JSWChief Executive Daniel Ozon told Reuters.

"This is why it is unlikely that the whole process of assessing Prairie Mining assets will finish in September," he said, adding he hoped the process would be completed in October.

He did not give a value for any transaction. Prairie Mining has a market capitalisation of A$79 million ($57 million).

Sources told Reuters this month that JSW, which has been in talks on cooperation with the Australian firm for much of this year, wanted a controlling stake in Prairie Mining to tighten its grip as the EU's biggest coking coal miner.

Ozon declined to comment on that issue.

The Energy Ministry, which supervises the mining industry, had planned to dismiss Ozon last week after disagreements over strategy but a meeting of the supervisory board in which this was expected to take place was cancelled last week, sources said. JSW declined to comment on the meeting.

Ozon also declined to comment on the matter.

Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski told Reuters last week that he was familiar with JSW's plan to take over Prairie Mining but declined to provide details.
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(By Wojciech Zurawski and Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Edmund Blair)