Coal Energy Australia

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Coal Energy Australia (CEA) is an Australian registered company seeking to develop a brown coal project in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria.

Despite significant financial uncertainty about the company, in mid-May 2014 the Victorian and Commonwealth government's allocated $30 million to CEA from the Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program (ALDP) for the construction of "a $143 million demonstration plant producing fertiliser, oil and high value coal used in steelmaking."[1]

In August 2013 The Age had reported that the company was one of the leading contenders for a grant.[2] CEA's project, along with projects proposed by Ignite Energy Resources and Shanghai Electric Australia Power & Energy Development were the three selected out of dozens of applicants for funding through the ALDP. Since then the projects proposed by Ignite Energy Resources and Shanghai Electric have collapsed.[3]

Corporate history

Coal Energy Australia was registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) as a public company on June 1, 2012.[4]

CEA started out as a company with only 1765 $1 shares but, in July 2012, subdivided the shares to create 176.5 million shares.[5] Shortly after its formation, CEA notified ASIC that its capital base was just over $700,000 from the sale of 179.3 million shares.[6]

In its three annual reports submitted to ASIC CEA has stated in the section titled "Likely Developments, Prospects and Expected Results of Operations":[7], page 2.</ref>

"Disclosure of information regarding likely developments in the operations of the group in future financial years and the expected results of those operations is likely to result in unreasonable prejudice to the group. Accordingly, this information has not been disclosed in this report."

Financial report for the year to the end of June 30, 2013

In its first full financial year the company racked up a loss of $531,679 after tax.[7] According to the company's financial statement the remaining equity value of the company was just $170,086.[8] Not surprisingly the company stated that it "is currently considering capital raising activities".[7]

In the financial year to the end of June 30, 2013 CEA had a paltry income of just $26,326 while total expenses were $558,005. Over 80% of the company's expenses for the year - $449,163 - were for "consulting".[9] Of this amount, the report stated that $269,400 was "financial advisory fees" with a further $179,763 in "consulting fees".[10]

The report provided no details on who the consulting fees were paid to but it lists the three directors - Stephen Lee, Lisa Fu and David Sutton - in the note in the statement relating to "key management personnel compensation". No additional details are provided.[11]

While the directors only had three board meetings in its first full year of operation, the company clocked up some significant expenses. $42,836 was spent on overseas airfares and accommodation, a further $14,360 on domestic airfares and accommodation, a little over $20,000 on office supplies, $11,283 on travel, parking and tolls and $5,333 on meals.[10]

Taxpayer funding from the Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program

In August 2013 The Age revealed that Coal Energy Australia was one of three leading contenders for funding under the $90 million federal and Victorian government Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program.[12]

In May 2014 the federal and state government's announced that CEA had been granted $30 million for the construction of "a $143 million demonstration plant producing fertiliser, oil and high value coal used in steelmaking."[1] The ministers stated that the grant was for:

  • "Building a pre-commercial lignite upgrading plant to process high value metallurgical-grade carbon and other hydrocarbon products;
  • "Integrating technologies for the pyrolysis of coal, based on coking, semi‐coking and advanced heating technology;
  • "Applying coal pyrolysis technology."

It also stated that the proposed plant would involve the "production of three products:

  • "low volatile solid fuel or char – a substitute for PCI coal in steel manufacture";
  • "pyrolysis oil, which can be distilled into various oils, including diesel oil for industrial heating"; and
  • "ammonium sulphate for use as a fertiliser or soil conditioner."

Deal with Jatenergy

Brown coal technology company, Jatenergy (JAT), announced in March 2013 that it had signed a non-binding letter of intent with Coal Energy Australia Limited (CEA). In its media release Jatenegy stated that the companies had agreed to "cooperate for their potential mutual benefit in the areas of:

  • marketing, promotion, development and operation of Coal Plus technology in the Latrobe Valley (in the case of CEA) and internationally (in the case of Jatenergy);
  • sharing of technical and capital information on Coal Plus technology to better enhance its saleability and acceptance;
  • potentially establishing a basis for making decisions on executing and investing in projects."[13]

Directors and other office bearers

According to records lodged with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, as of June 2017, office bearers of Coal Energy Australia are[7]

  • Stephen Wee, Managing Director and Chairman from Lane Cove, NSW
  • Lisa Fu Non-Executive Director from Lane Cove, NSW
  • David Sutton, Non-Executive Director from Callala Beach, NSW
  • Nick Tropea, Company Secretary, of Earlwood NSW.

Former directors

  • Michael Talbot Davies was a Non-Executive Director of the company between September 7, 2015 and February 2, 2016.

Subsidiaries

In its 2013 annual financial statement CEA states that it has two wholly owned subsidiaries, Lignite Energy Pty Ltd which was incorporated on June 15 2012, and Lignite Development Pty Ltd which was incorporated on May 13, 2013.[14]

Registered lobbyists and industry affiliations

CEA is listed on the federal registers of lobbyists as being represented by Capital Hill Advisory.[15] Capital Hill Advisory's registration of its new client was submitted in early November 2015.[16]

However, does not represent CEA in Victoria.[17] The company is not listed as being represented by any other company either.

CEA is not a member of the Victorian Division of the Minerals Council of Australia, the peak mining industry lobby group in both Victoria and nationally.[18]

Registered office

Level 10, 32 Martin Place
Sydney NSW 2090
Phone: 1800 085 432
http://www.coalenergy.com.au/

Articles and resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Federal Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources Russell Northe, "Advanced coal projects to drive new jobs", Media Release, May 16, 2014.
  2. Tom Arup, "China powers ahead in hidden tender for brown coal millions", The Age, August 7, 2013.
  3. "Company withdraws from government-funded clean coal scheme in Victoria's Latrobe Valley", ABC News, October 4, 2016.
  4. "Coal Energy Australia Limited", Australian Securities and Investment Commission website, accessed August 7, 2013.
  5. Coal Energy Australia Limited, “Notification of resolutions regarding shares”, July 9, 2012.
  6. “Coal Energy Australia: Current & Historical Company Extract”, Australian Securities and Investment Commission, 7 August 2013.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Coal Energy Australia, "Financial Report for the Financial Period Ended June 30 2013", March 2014, page 2.
  8. Coal Energy Australia, "Financial Report for the Financial Period Ended June 30 2013", March 2014, page 7.
  9. Coal Energy Australia, "Financial Report for the Financial Period Ended June 30 2013", March 2014, page 6.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Coal Energy Australia, "Financial Report for the Financial Period Ended June 30 2013", March 2014, page 18.
  11. Coal Energy Australia, "Financial Report for the Financial Period Ended June 30 2013", March 2014, page 21.
  12. Tom Arup, "China powers ahead in hidden tender for brown coal millions", The Age, August 7, 2013.
  13. Jatenergy, "$160 million invested over four years into coal beneficiation technology Coal Plus", Media Release, March 6, 2013, page 2.
  14. Coal Energy Australia, "Financial Report for the Financial Period Ended June 30 2013", March 2014, page 21.
  15. "Lobbyist Details: Capital Hill Advisory", Australian Government Register of Lobbyists, accessed June 2017.
  16. "Amusing. Capital Hill Advisory Pty Ltd is now lobbying for Coal Energy Australia.", LobbyWhat, APH Media, November 3, 2016. The Tweet, which is based on a scraper of the register of lobbyists, publishes all changes to the database to a Twitter feed.)
  17. "Register of Lobbyists: Capital Hill Advisory", Victorian Public Sector Commissioner, accessed June 2017.
  18. Minerals Council of Australia, "Members Operating in Victoria", Minerals Council of Australia, accessed June 2017.

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