Tinkler back in the game after Queensland coal mine purchase

Nathan Tinkler is back in the coal game, after his stunning fall from grace last year.

The 38-year-old former mining magnate is set to re-enter the coal market with his recent $150 million purchase of Peabody Energy’s Wilkie Creek mine in Queensland, reports The Australian.

The troubled businessman had once topped BRW’s Young Rich List and was worth an estimated $1.1 billion by the age of 35.

A former Hunter Valley mine electrician, Tinkler made his fortune from risky coal plays from 2009 to 2012.

But as Crikey business editor Paddy Manning wrote for SmartCompany last year, his business model only worked in a rising market and when coal prices slumped in September 2012 he had no cash flow to service his huge debts.

Within months he was trying desperately to stave off his creditors and, eventually, wound up in court.

Tinkler last night told The Australian from his Singapore base that the Wilkie Creek deal would be funded via his own equity and with support from investment bank Jefferies and its associated private equity firm Leucadia.

He told The Australian he had success with flipping assets before his luck ran out and he was forced to sell his only lucrative asset, a stake in Whitehaven Coal.

The Wilkie Creek mine closed last year, axing 120 jobs, after Peabody blamed the carbon tax and other cost increases for making it unprofitable as coal prices fell last year.

“It’s tough, coal prices at the moment,” said Tinkler to The Australian. “So it’s hard for any export mine to make a lot of money, but you have to believe in coal as a long-term part of the energy cycle, and we believe it is.”

Tinkler said he would like to put Wilkie Creek back into production by the end of the year.

SmartCompany contacted Tinkler for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication

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