Whitehaven Coal has executed definitive sale agreements with BHP Group and Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd (together, BMA) to acquire 100% of both the Daunia and Blackwater coal mines in Queensland, Australia, for an aggregate consideration of $3.2 billion.
Whitehaven says the transaction delivers significant value upside with attractive growth opportunities in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, including synergies with Whitehaven’s Winchester South development project. It also transforms Whitehaven into a metallurgical coal producer in line with strategy, with pro-forma managed run of mine (ROM) production of around 40 Mt/y annum and pro-forma revenues of around 70% metallurgical coal and 30% thermal coal.
Completion of the acquisition is expected in the June 2024 quarter subject to satisfying conditions precedent including regulatory and merger control approvals.
The Daunia open-cut coal mine is 30 km south-east of Moranbah, and about 170 km southwest of Mackay in Queensland. The mine produces a hard coking coal (HCC) and pulverised coal injection (PCI) metallurgical coal products, and it is expected to produce an average of circa-4.9 Mt/y of saleable coal production over the next five years. It is expected that the remaining LOM production will continue until 2040. Daunia is adjacent to Whitehaven’s Winchester South development project in the Bowen Basin. Following the acquisition, Daunia’s coal products will continue to be exported to customers across Asia through the Dalrymple Bay Terminal near Mackay.
Back in 2020, BMA announced a A$100 million ($64 million) investment and new jobs as part of the introduction of 34 autonomous trucks at the mine.
The Blackwater coal mine is an open-cut mine which lies 73 km south-east of Emerald in Queensland and is expected to produce an average of circa-12.4 Mt/y of saleable coal production over the next five years. It is one of the largest coal mines in Australia, with a strike length of 80 km, and has the largest dragline fleet (7) in the Southern Hemisphere. Both HCC and semi soft coking coal (SSCC) metallurgical coal products are mined at Blackwater. The remaining LOM production is expected to be greater than 50 years. Blackwater’s coal products are exported to customers across Asia through the RG Tanna Terminal north of Gladstone.
Paul Flynn, CEO & Managing Director of Whitehaven, said: “This is a compelling transaction for Whitehaven that accelerates our strategy, transforms our company and delivers substantial value for our shareholders.
“This transformational acquisition will pivot our portfolio towards metallurgical coal, which has been a core pillar of our strategy for many years making this a better balanced business. Our thermal coal business remains strategically important as we continue to provide much-needed coal products to support the global energy transition and as customers seek our high-quality and high-CV products to limit their emissions.
“This is a highly attractive and materially earnings accretive acquisition, with considerable upside potential, which we expect will deliver meaningful returns to our shareholders for many years to come. It strengthens our portfolio of quality, long life assets in attractive locations providing geographic and operational diversification and scale benefits.
“We look forward to completing the transaction and welcoming the teams at Daunia and Blackwater into the Whitehaven business, and working with the local community and other stakeholders who will remain an important part of our operations.”