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Stanmore Coal pays Mitsui $380m for full control of Queensland coal mines

South Walker Creek coal mine. (Image courtesy of BHP.)

Australia’s Stanmore Coal (ASX: SMR) has acquired the remaining 20% stake in South Walker Creek and Poitrel coal mines in Queensland from Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co., in a deal valued at $380 million.

The move, which seeks to complete the takeover of the metallurgical coal joint venture BHP Mitsui Coal (BMC), follows a deal inked in November with BHP to buy the mining giant’s majority stake in BMC, for up to $1.35 billion.

Mitsui decided earlier this year to start sounding out suitors for its minority stake in Queensland’s South Walker Creek and Poitrel mines.

Stanmore, majority-owned by Singapore-listed Golden Energy and Resources, said the deal would cement its position as a leading metallurgical coal miner in the Bowen Basin.

“Having 100% control of South Walker Creek and Poitrel, as well as Wards Well and other projects, allows Stanmore to maximize value amongst our assets in the region,” chief executive officer Marcelo Matos said in the statement.

The operations, renamed Stanmore SMC Pty Ltd, have a combined coal production capacity of about 10 million tonnes a year and marketable reserves of more than 135 million tonnes.

Stanmore, which is developing its Isaac Downs coking coal project in the Bowen Basin, expects the venture to shortly declare and pay a significant dividend.

Separately, the company posted record half-year profits as the mines it bought from BHP allowed it to capitalize on the global energy crunch that has fuelled coal prices to near-record levels.

BHP remains Australia’s largest producer and exporter of metallurgical coal as an equal partner in a separate alliance with Mitsubishi Corp. That joint venture operates seven mines and owns and operates the Hay Point Coal Terminal in Australia, one of the world’s largest coal-export ports.