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After the year from hell Stanmore turns a shade of green


Stanmore Coal has made a dramatic shift to diversify away from coal into renewable energy and other sources of mining.

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The company told investors today that it would establish Stanmore Green to leverage its assets and execution capabilities by pursuing opportunities in renewable energy. The company did not reveal what types of renewable investment it was pursuing but said a number of projects had been identified.

The company appeared to be focussing on projects that could offset its own carbon footprint from its coal projects. Although the company did not mention it, coal projects around the world are facing difficulty because of the growing environmental, social and governance (ESG) push from big investors.

It follows a brutal year for the company which, like all coal companies, endured the disruption from COVID-19 and then the import bans from China which slashed prices.

Chief executive Marcelo Matos told a shareholders meeting that Stanmore would partner with entrepreneurs and private investors, developers, research partners and governments to identify and execute opportunities.

These renewable projects would also “mitigate the environmental impact of our own activities” and promote social and economic development and improved living conditions to stakeholders within our area of influence.

“A number of projects and initiatives have already been identified with further work required to select and bring prospective initiatives into fruition,” Matos said.

Chairman Dwi Suseno said the company would also change its name to Stanmore Resources and aim to continue to develop coal assets but also explore diversification.

It marks another twist in the road for Stanmore which bought its Isaac Plains mine in 2015 from Vale and Sumitomo for $1. At the time big companies had difficulty dealing with smaller assets and were keen to get rid of them.

Stanmore last year was faced with a takeover by one of its major shareholders Golden Energy which ended up with a majority stake of 75 per cent.

Then there was a clean out of executives. Chief financial officer Ian Poole left in May and chairman Stewart Butel and directors Steve Bizzell and Neal O’Connor stood down for Golden to appoint its own directors, Dwi Sueno, Mark Trevan, Richard Majlinder and Mary Carroll.

Matos said coal prices were still under pressure but there had been some relief in the first quarter, which had been offset by the rise in the Australian dollar.

He said a large proportion of the company’s coal was sold to Japan, South Korea and India, which had insulated it from the worst of China’s coal bans.

Thermal markets were recovering but independent analysis suggested the current price for metallurgical coal was below the level to make an adequate return for several Australian mines.

“While we are confident in the rebalancing in global seaborne metallurgical coal markets and normalisation of met coal prices, we are focusing on maintaining a healthy and strong relationship with our long-term customer base and on managing the areas we can control within our business,” Matos said.





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