Former Aussie coal magnate Nathan Tinkler officially bankrupt

Nathan Tinkler in an interview about his planned — and now failed — comeback to mining earlier this year. (Image: Screenshot from Bloomberg video)

Electrician turned coal baron, Nathan Tinkler, has become one Australia’s most high-profile casualties of the worst global mining downturn in a generation after being officially declared bankrupt.

Tinkler, who became Australia’s youngest billionaire at the age of 35, failed this month to pay off a private jet this month, only 10 years after he turned a US$28 million (A$30m) investment in rundown coal mine into a profitable asset that he sold shortly after for almost $2 billion (A$2.7bn).

Back then coal was at the forefront of a mining boom in Australia, driven by growing Asian economies. However, prices for the fossil fuel began to fall from their record highs in 2012 and he lost it all.

Tinkler’s bankruptcy trustee says the ruined mining entrepreneur has only one notable asset left — a farm.

In an apology to family and creditors Thursday, Tinkler said he would have no role with Australia Pacific Coal (ASX:AQC) — a junior company that bought Anglo American’s Dartbrook mine last year and which might have provided him with the means to pay off his debts.

Recently, he was forced to leave his position as chief executive of Australia Pacific Coal due to regulations that ban a person who is bankrupt from leading a corporation.

“I would like to apologize to the creditors and my family,” he told Fairfax media. “I do not have a role with Australian Pacific Coal . . . I’m not a criminal, I am allowed to get out and earn a living for my family.”

According to Tinkler’s bankruptcy trustee the ruined mining entrepreneur has only one notable asset left — a farm near Port Macquarie.

But the assets he holds in a trust fund controlled by his estranged wife Rebecca were not declared, including the $16 million Hawaiian mansion she lives in, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The paper said that Tinkler also declined to declare the $27.5 million worth of shares in Australian Pacific Coal his associated entities control.

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