THE potential owners of what was once Australia's largest export thermal coal mine appear to be based in a small cottage in rural New South Wales.
It was a fact that raised the eyebrows of Mackay Conservation Group's Peter McCallum when he searched the address on Google Maps of TerraCom, the company that announced plans to purchase Clermont's Blair Athol Coal mine from Rio Tinto on Tuesday for $1.
Announcing their intention to acquire the mine was an ASX listing requirement, despite the deal not yet having State Government approval.
TerraCom's 34 Hewitts Ave, Thirroul, NSW address depicts a small, fibro cottage.
The image left Mr McCallum concerned about the company's capacity to mine and rehabilitate Blair Athol.
But TerraCom's general manager and former Townsville mayor of 20 years Tony Mooney said the cottage revealed the "very lean corporate structure with low corporate overheads" it had employed to survive difficult times in the mining industry.
He also explained current majority owner Rio Tinto would transfer $80million in cash to a bank account nominated and controlled by the State of Queensland to cover environmental rehabilitation commitments.
The $80m figure, he said, was based on an assessment of the mines' rehabilitation liability carried out November last year by the Queensland Government.
Although the company was small, with share prices listed at around $0.01 on the ASX, Mr Mooney said employees had demonstrated capacity in operating complex coal mining operations both locally and overseas.
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker was consulted about the deal prior to TerraCom making the announcement, which she said spoke to their integrity.
She said while it was "early stages" the region should be encouraged by the move.
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