The Government is reluctant to purchase Stockton mine to protect the jobs of nearly 250 workers, but a decision on its fate is drawing near, says Prime Minister John Key.
An announcement on the future of the West Coast coal mine’s owner Solid Energy is likely to be made within the next few weeks.
But neither liquidation nor the Government retaining key assets were “preferred options”, said Key. Ultimately the fate of Solid Energy, which had up to 700 employees, rested with the banks who carried its considerable debt.
If Solid Energy is not a viable business, then the harsh reality is that it must close. I hope it doesn’t, but I don’t want any more bailouts of it.
Coal is a global commodity with the price set by global supply and demand. NZ has no ability to control that price. If it is too low to be profitable for Solid Energy, then little we can do about it.