Monthly Archives: April 2017

Yancoal’s $3.3 billion Hunter coal purchase gives it a key strategic voice in Newcastle’s port

CHINESE Government entity Yancoal will have the right to appoint the chair, two directors and potentially the chief executive of Port Waratah Coal Services after the greenlighting of Yancoal’s $3.3 billion purchase of Rio Tinto’s Hunter coal assets.

The largest acquisition of Australian assets by a Chinese Government-controlled company will give Yancoal a powerful hold on key elements of the Hunter coal chain.

This will include ownership of some of the region’s largest mines and a 36.5 per cent strategic stake in Port Waratah Coal and its Carrington and Kooragang terminals, in addition to Yancoal’s existing 27 per cent stake in Newcastle’s third coal terminal.

The Foreign Investment Review Board recommended the deal go ahead after blocking Chinese bids for the Kidman rural empire and the $10 billion Ausgrid sale, while greenlighting smaller renewable energy projects.

Yancoal Australia, which is 78 per cent owned by Yanzhou Coal Mining, which in turn is controlled by an arm of the Chinese Government, will gain Rio Tinto assets under holding company Coal & Allied, including a 67.6 per cent interest in the Hunter Valley Operations mine, an 80 per cent interest in Mount Thorley and 55.6 per cent interest in the Warkworth mine.

Yancoal’s existing Hunter assets are the giant Moolarben mine between Denman and Mudgee, which could produce 21 million tonnes of coal per year, and the much smaller, suspended or troubled mines at Ashton, Austar, Stratford Duralie, Abel, Tasman and Donaldson.

Port Waratah Coal Services chief executive officer Hennie du Plooy confirmed that a Yancoal purchase of Rio Tinto assets would include the transfer of Rio Tinto’s right to nominate three of Port Waratah’s 10 directors, with one as the board chair, and the right to nominate the chief executive for the board’s approval.

The purchase “appears to demonstrate a level of confidence in the ongoing presence of the industry in the Hunter region”, Mr du Plooy said, although there were important steps that had yet to be met including raising funds for the deal. Yanzhou is reported to be willing to invest $US1 billion of fresh equity into Yancoal Australia. 

The purchase also has to be ratified by Rio Tinto and Yancoal shareholders. Rio Tinto is not expected to hold an extraordinary general meeting until after it holds its annual general meeting in early May. The purchase is not expected to be finalised until later this year.

“In terms of the transaction, there’s quite a bit still to go,” Mr du Plooy said.

The Yancoal deal comes three years after the Westpac-backed Hastings Fund Management and the Chinese Government’s China Merchants paid $1.75 billion for a 98-year lease of the Port of Newcastle in a 50/50 joint venture in 2014.

While the deal would give Yancoal considerable clout in the Hunter coal industry, the company would remain a customer of Port Waratah Coal Services, which operates under the Long Term Commercial Framework agreement approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

“The port needs to serve all the Hunter Valley coal chain,” Mr du Plooy said.

Yancoal has an existing 12 million ship or pay contract with Port Waratah Coal, and a $2.5 billion, 27 per cent stake in the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group’s third terminal where it has a contract to ship 14.6 million tonnes annually.

The port needs to serve all the Hunter Valley coal chain. – Port Waratah Coal Services chief executive Hennie du Plooy.

Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon welcomed Yancoal’s investment in the Hunter “which comes at a time when some of the better-known multinationals are divesting their coal interests”.

“I’m confident Yancoal understands that maintaining Coal & Allied’s workforce will be key to a healthy return on investment. For me, it’s all about jobs,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Australia Institute economist Rod Campbell said Yancoal gaining influence within Port Waratah Coal Services “could be great for Hunter mining, as they aren’t as beholden to the mates club that is big coal in Australia”.

“This means they could speak out against the biggest threat to NSW coal – the subsidisation of Adani’s infrastructure and huge volumes of new thermal coal going into seaborne markets from the Galilee Basin in Queensland,” Mr Campbell said.

“Glencore has spoken out about the madness of subsidising Adani, and even (Queensland Resources Council chief executive) Ian Macfarlane admits that many of his members aren’t happy. This could put Yancoal in a position to defend Hunter coal as Rio has never been prepared to do.”

Yancoal gaining influence within Port Waratah Coal Services could be great for Hunter mining, as they aren’t as beholden to the mates club that is big coal in Australia. – Australia Institute economist Rod Campbell.

Camberwell resident Wendy Bowman, who refused to sell her property to Yancoal and won two court cases that stopped its Ashton South East open cut expansion, questioned whether the deal would go ahead, and whether Yancoal’s history of mine operations in the Hunter was positive.

“They haven’t been anywhere near me since the court cases. They haven’t tried to talk to me because they know if I sold that would be the end of everyone from here to Maison Dieu. They own mines in the Hunter but it’s not exactly a great record they have here,” Mrs Bowman said.

If the deal goes ahead Yancoal will have its giant Moolarben mine in addition to large stakes in Hunter Valley Operations and Mount Thorley Warkworth. In 2016 Rio Tinto’s production share in those mines was 17.1 million tonnes.

Under Rio Tinto’s obligations under the HVO joint venture agreement with Mitsubishi, Yancoal Australia will also make a “tag” offer to Mitsubishi to acquire its 32.4 per cent interest in the Hunter Valley Operations mine.

Rio Tinto has announced or completed at least $7.7 billion of divestments since 2013, including the sale of its interests in the Bengalla coal mine and Mount Pleasant coal project in the Hunter.

Yancoal’s purchase of Rio Tinto’s Hunter coal assets was both a Chinese Government endorsement of the NSW thermal coal export industry and a reflection of China’s “going global” mandate while its domestic coal industry contracts, energy analyst Tim Buckley said.

He described the purchase as an “opportunistic move” by Yancoal on the back of Rio Tinto’s effective exist from thermal coal across the globe.

“Obviously some read the transaction as a Chinese Government endorsement of the NSW thermal coal export industry, which in part it is,” he said.

“But Yancoal’s track record on acquisitions this decade is less than stellar. I think it is more of an opportunistic move for a company in a domestic Chinese industry that is contracting, to look offshore for growth, facilitating the global industry rationalisation in the process.

 “China’s central government has given a clear mandate to the strategy of ‘going global’, and this transaction is another set in that process.”

source:Newcastle Herald


The Missing Australian Soldiers from the Battle of Vevi

Members of the Australian 2/1st Anti-Tank Regiment resting, 13 April 1941, after their withdrawal from the Vevi area.

Former NT Minister Peter Toyne and Historian Tom Tsamouras will present a lecture entitled ‘The Missing Australian Soldiers from the Battle of Vevi’, on Thursday 20 April, at 7:00pm, at the Ithacan Philanthropic Society as a part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars, offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

The first action during the Second World War on Greek soil between the German and Hellenic forces was on the little village of Vevi in the municipality of Florina. This began on 11th April 1941 and marked the first of numerous clashes during which Hellenic and ANZAC forces fought side by side! After the “Battle of Vevi”, a small number of soldiers from the two Australian battalions that fought there, were reported missing in action and their bodies have never been found. Information by locals to Australian Brigadier Keith Rossi in 1981 about the possible grave site of these missing men has led to many people from Greece and Australia researching about the possible grave site of their remains. Tom Tsamouras, a school teacher from Newcastle and Peter Toyne, former MP from the NT, are two researches who have spent years trying to locate the resting place of these men.

Tom Tsamouras was born in Karditsa, Greece in 1962 and migrated with his family to Australia in 1969. He was educated at Hamilton Primary and Merewether High school in Newcastle and graduated from the University of Newcastle in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1984 he completed a Graduate Diploma in Education through the University of Sydney and in 1986 graduated from the University of New England with a Master of Letters degree. Between 1987 and 1990 he worked in Greece teaching English as a second language. In 1992 he was appointed at Muswellbrook High School as an English/History teacher and in 1993 he transferred to Maitland High School where he teaches English to this day. In 1997 he also joined the network of Symban World Radio and produced a variety of weekly radio programmes in the Greek language until 2012. Today he lives in Newcastle with his wife Irene and three children Alexandra, George and Madeline.

Peter Toyne was born in Melbourne and early career there included 5 years of scientific research into the origins of breast cancer and then a ten year secondary teaching career. He moved to the Northern Territory in 1980 and took up various educational and community development roles in the Central Australian region over the next 16 years- all this time based in bush communities. Some of the significant projects in which he played a prominent role were the establishment of the Warlpiri Media Association, Warlukurlangu Artists, the Tanami Network, Open learning based secondary education, Indigenous adult education, development of Teaching courses through Bachelor College, and numerous smaller enterprises. In 1996 He was elected to the NT Parliament as the Member for Stuart and served for 10 years as opposition spokesperson for education. When the Labor government assumed power in 2001 he became the Attorney General and Justice Minister and later took on the additional responsibility as Minister for Health and Minister for Central Australia. He retired from politics in 2006 and now balances family life, and an active career as an artist and architectural glass designer.
When: Thursday, 20 April 2017, 7:00pm
Where: Ithacan Philanthropic Society (Level 2, 329 Elizabeth St, Melbourne)


Oι Αγνοούμενοι Αυστραλοί στρατιώτες στη Μάχη της Βεύης

Members of the Australian 2/1st Anti-Tank Regiment resting, 13 April 1941, after their withdrawal from the Vevi area.

Ο πρώην υπουργός της Βόρειας Επικράτειας Peter Toyne και ο καθηγητής Tom Tsamouras θα παρουσιάσουν διάλεξη με τίτλο «Οι αγνοούμενοι Αυστραλοί στρατιώτες στη Μάχη της Βεύης», την Πέμπτη 20 Απριλίου στις 7:00 μ.μ., στην αίθουσα διαλέξεων της Φιλανθρωπικής Ενωσης Ιθακήσιων, στο πλαίσιο των Σεμιναρίων Ελληνικής Ιστορίας και Πολιτισμού, που προσφέρει η Ελληνική Κοινότητα Μελβούρνης.

Η πρώτη μάχη κατά τη διάρκεια του Δευτέρου Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου επί ελληνικού εδάφους μεταξύ των γερμανικών και των ελληνικών δυνάμεων ήταν στο μικρό χωριό της Βεύης του Δήμου Φλώρινας.

Ξεκίνησε στις 11 Απριλίου 1941 και σηματοδότησε την πρώτη από πολλές συγκρούσεις στη διάρκεια της οποίας Ελληνικές και ANZAC δυνάμεις πολέμησαν δίπλα-δίπλα! Μετά την «Μάχη της Βεύης», ένας μικρός αριθμός στρατιωτών από τα δύο τάγματα της Αυστραλίας που πολέμησαν εκεί, αναφέρθηκαν ως αγνοούμενοι στη μάχη και τα πτώματά τους δεν βρέθηκαν ποτέ.
Οι πληροφορίες από τους ντόπιους στον αυστραλιανό ταξίαρχο Keith Rossi το 1981, σχετικά με τον πιθανή τάφο αυτών που αγνοούνταν έχει οδηγήσει σε μια έρευνα πολλών από την Ελλάδα και την Αυστραλία για να βρεθούν τα λείψανά τους.

Ο καθηγητής Tom Tsamouras, από το Newcastle και ο Peter Toyne, πρώην βουλευτής και υπουργός από τη Βόρεια Επικράτεια, είναι δύο ερευνητές που έχουν προσπαθήσει πολλά χρόνια για να εντοπίσουν τους τάφους αυτών των ανθρώπων.

Ο Tom Tsamouras γεννήθηκε στην Καρδίτσα το 1962 και μετανάστευσε με την οικογένειά του στην Αυστραλία το 1969. Aποφοίτησε από το Πανεπιστήμιο του Newcastle το 1983 με πτυχίο Bachelor of Arts.

Το 1984 ολοκλήρωσε το Μεταπτυχιακό Δίπλωμά του στην Εκπαίδευση στο Πανεπιστήμιο του Σίδνεϊ και το 1986 αποφοίτησε από το Πανεπιστήμιο της Νέας Αγγλίας με Master of Letters. Μεταξύ 1987 και 1990 δίδαξε στην Ελλάδα την Αγγλική ως δεύτερη γλώσσα. Το 1992 διορίστηκε στο γυμνάσιο Muswellbrook ως καθηγητής Αγγλικών και Ιστορίας και το 1993 μετατέθηκε στο Maitland High School, όπου διδάσκει Αγγλικά ως σήμερα. Από το 1997 ασχολήθηκε με την παραγωγή εβδομαδιαίων ραδιοφωνικών προγραμμάτων στην ελληνική γλώσσα μέχρι το 2012. Σήμερα ζει στο Newcastle με την οικογένειά του.

Ο Peter Toyne γεννήθηκε στη Μελβούρνη και στις αρχές της σταδιοδρομίας του περιλαμβάνονται 5 χρόνια επιστημονικής έρευνας σχετικά με τον καρκίνο του μαστού και στη συνέχεια, δεκαετή σταδιοδρομία στη δευτεροβάθμια εκπαίδευση. Μετακόμισε στη Βόρεια Επικράτεια το 1980 και ανέλαβε διάφορους εκπαιδευτικούς και αναπτυξιακούς ρόλους σε κοινότητες στην περιοχή της Κεντρικής Αυστραλίας για τα επόμενα 16 χρόνια

Μερικά από τα σημαντικά έργα στα οποία έπαιξε πρωταγωνιστικό ρόλο ήταν η ίδρυση της Warlpiri Media Association, του Warlukurlangu Artists, του Tanami Network, του Open Learning με βάση τη δευτεροβάθμια εκπαίδευση, του Προγράμματος εκπαίδευσης ενηλίκων Αμπορίτζιναλ, και την ανάπτυξη μαθημάτων διδασκαλίας μέσω του Bachelor College. Το 1996 εξελέγη στο Κοινοβούλιο της Βόρειας Επικράτειας ως βουλευτής στην έδρα Stuart και υπηρέτησε για 10 χρόνια ως εκπρόσωπος της αντιπολίτευσης για την εκπαίδευση. Όταν η κυβέρνηση των Εργατικών ανέλαβε την εξουσία το 2001, ανέλαβε υπουργός Υγείας και Κεντρικής Αυστραλίας. Αποσύρθηκε από την πολιτική το 2006 και τώρα ισορροπεί την οικογενειακή ζωή και την ενεργό καριέρα ως καλλιτέχνης σχεδιαστής.

Πότε: Πέμπτη, 20 Aπριλίου 2017, 7:00μμ
Πού: Φιλανθρωπική Ενωση Ιθακήσιων (2ος Οροφος, 329 Elizabeth St, Melbourne)