Australian Pacific Coal (AQC) and its joint venture (JV) partner Tetra Resources have finalised a three-year $60m debt facility with Vitol Asia to restart the Dartbrook coal mine located in New South Wales, Australia.

The funding will cover forecast restart expenditure at the Dartbrook mine through to the first coal.

It will comprise equipment acquisitions and completion of remediation works as well as the acquisition of additional mining systems during ramp-up to achieve full capacity.

The coal sales and marketing agreement with Vitol for all Dartbrook coal production, including assigning coal marketing rights to Vitol for the life of the mine was signed between the parties in November last year.

According to AQC, the work to complete the new conveyor installation, renovate the coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP), and procure continuous miners will be expedited this month.

Besides, additional recruitment will commence in Q1 2024.

The funding will include a three-year facility with repayments starting after an initial grace period to allow for the mine production start-up.

It will also comprise senior security over the JV assets and shares in the JV entities with an AQC parent company guarantee, subordination of shareholder loans, an interest rate of one-month SOFR plus a margin. The repayment is set off against the coal sale.

Australian Pacific Coal interim CEO Ayten Saridas said: “The $60m restart funding package we have agreed with Vitol opens the door for Dartbrook to restart production after 18 years in care and maintenance.

“Our ability to secure debt funding for Dartbrook during a period of high inflation and global tension is a testament to the quality of the project, the vision and work ethic of the team of people bringing it back to the market, and the commitment of our shareholders.”

Located in the renowned coal region of the Hunter Valley, the Dartbrook coal mine was placed on a care and maintenance basis in 2007.