Grassy Mountain Coal Project Decision May Sound the Death Knell for Montem and Atrum Coal
June 18, 2021
Report of the Joint Review Panel
Benga Mining Limited
Grassy Mountain Coal Project
June 17, 2021
Yesterday’s Grassy Mountain Coal Project Joint Review Panel categorical rejection of Benga Mining’s applications for the Grassy Mountain mine may very well sound the death knell for Montem Resources and Atrum Coal. Today, both companies requested that trading in their shares on the Australian Securities Exchange be stopped.
Before Montem’s request was accepted its stock lost 20 percent of its value. Its last trade was at 7 cents a share; Atrum’s last trade was at 4.7 cents a share.
“The Grassy Mountain decision, combined with federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Wilkinson’s decision to subject all proposed metallurgical coal mines to federal impact assessments, delivers a one-two punch to these financially struggling companies,” said Ian Urquhart, AWA Conservation Director. “It may well knock them both out.”
Several aspects of the Grassy Mountain decision set off alarm bells for investors in Montem and Atrum. First, Commissioners Bolton, O’Gorman, and Matthews were not convinced by Benga Mining’s assertions about Grassy Mountain’s economic benefits. Second, even more significantly perhaps, the Joint Review Panel concluded that, even if it accepted Benga’s economic analysis, “the character and severity of the environmental effects are such that we must reach the conclusion that approval of the Coal Conservation Act applications is not in the public interest.”
This underlines the seriousness with which the Panel regarded market risks that Benga preferred to minimize in its presentations. “The Panel didn’t believe Benga treated climate change actions and associated technological changes to steel making seriously enough in their arguments,” said Urquhart. “The Panel, like organizations such as the International Energy Agency and Canadian Energy Regulator, took very seriously the possibility that we are on the cusp of a major sea-change in steel making and metallurgical coal production.”
AWA detailed the already very weak financial positions of Montem and Atrum in its June 9, 2021 presentation to Alberta’s Coal Policy Committee. The relevant excerpt from that report is found below.
For more information contact:
Dr. Ian Urquhart, AWA Conservation Director
Montem’s financial weakness is underlined by several recent corporate developments and statements:
Atrum Coal’s financial circumstances arguably are even more dire:
 Australian Securities Exchange, “Notice of ceasing to be a substantial holder,” June 10, 2021, https://cdn-api.markitdigital.com/apiman-gateway/ASX/asx-research/1.0/file/2924-02384032-6A1036523?access_token=83ff96335c2d45a094df02a206a39ff4