Australian mining giants 'unlikely' to buy Pike River

8:22 am on 15 March 2011

A mining analyst says Australian mining giants would have no real interest in buying the Pike River mine, meaning New Zealand state-owned miner Solid Energy could be the frontrunner to take control.

A mining analyst says Australian mining giants would have no real interest in buying Pike River mine, meaning New Zealand state-owned miner Solid Energy could be the frontrunner to take control.

Pike River Coal went into receivership in December, after 29 workers were killed in explosions at the mine on 19 November.

Police last week handed control of the West Coast mine to receiver PricewaterhouseCoopers which is now looking for buyers.

Solid Energy has confirmed it's interested in buying the mine, and it believes it is the only company in the world capable of successfully running it safely and economically.

Fat Prophets resource analyst David Lennox says none of the Australian mining operators, such as BHP Billiton or Rio Tinto, would be interested in buying the mine.

The coal seam is difficult to mine, but is a rich coking coal seam and prices for that product have risen, so smaller operators may be interesting in buying the mine.

However he says most such Australian operators prefer to own mines in that country.