Uley up for grabs

FUTURE: Administrators from William Buck are looking at Valence Industries’ assets, including the Uley Graphite Mine.THE future of the Uley Graphite Mine near Port Lincoln is up in the airafterValence Industries enteredinto administration.
Nanjing Night Net

On July 15, the company announcedLaurie Fitzgerald and Michael Humphris of accounting firm William Buck hadbeen appointed as administrators for Valence Industries Limited, Valence Industries Operations and Valence Industries Services.

Currently, the administrators are getting an understanding of Valence Industries’assets, including the Uley Graphite Mine.

Mr Fitzgerald saidtheadministration process was by no means a death sentence to the Uley Graphite Mine,asthe general view was the mine was still a valuable resource.

“We’re looking at trying to generate a future process that might give life and activity to the mine,” he said.

“What we’ve got now in administration is a trigger for change.”

Valence Industries suspended operations at the mine in December last year as it worked on its finances after cutting staff at the mine by more than half in September.

Atits annual general meeting late last year, Valence Industries revealed it needed an additional $40 million to repay creditors as well as upgrade the Uley site and for working capital to become cash flow positive.

Mr Fitzgerald said it was really an “open book” as to the opportunities for the mine.

“We will consider any feasible, sensible option that might be put forward,” he said.

Discussions have already begunwith a potential interest in the mine which is expected to continue across the next few weeks.There will be an initial creditors meeting next Wednesday with a shareholders meeting to happen at a later date.

Mr Humphris also recently met with Valence Industries staff and management to discuss the future.

Mr Fitzgerald said the opportunities were still there for the graphitemineto be a productive site and help meet the market needs for graphite, it was just about determining the right path forward.

“The general view is it’s a very valuable resource and a good fundamental product, the issue has been product capacity and getting it to market,” he said.

“We will lay the ground rules and get ahead on discussions on what the best prospects are for reinvigorating this operation.”

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