Here’s a bit of an update of what is happening in Happy Valley at the moment from a local:
It’s very noisy in Happy Valley these days, with 2 drill rigs and a water pump pounding away. They’re all within 200m of the protest camp. Solid Energy is drilling 35 test holes to give them a better idea of the coal resource.
Meantime, the spot price for coking coal has more than halved and contract prices are expected to follow. Solid Energy says it will produce 20% less coal from Stockton this year. Profit for the half year to December was a record $78m, half of what was expected. It’s hard to imagine that it’ll be business as usual over the next year and I’ve heard some environmental staff have been laid off. But Stockton’s $100m coal washing plant will go ahead, says Solid Energy’s CEO Don Elder. This will allow them to process over one million tonnes of contaminated coal that is already mined and stockpiled.
It’s hard to imagine SE starting an expensive mine in Happy Valley under these circumstances. But who knows?
Happy Valley drilling