Mining expert for Beaconsfield

Mining expert for Beaconsfield

Gary Davison, a director with Lightning Nickel and managing director of mining and geotechnical consultant Mining One, has agreed to join the BMJV, which consists of Beaconsfield Gold chief executive Bill Colvin and Allstate administrator Michael Ryan.

It is not clear whether Mr Ryan will remain on the committee as an Allstate representative.

Mr Ryan has been administrator of Allstate, the senior partner in the mine with a stake of 51.5 per cent, since 2001 and was behind the controversial sale of $77 million worth of inter-company loans to Macquarie Bank for $300,000.

Macquarie has since agreed to put the remaining debt, about $47 million, in a trust fund for miners, but could not find a trustee.

Allstate has flagged its intention of making a bid for the debt, which it initially owned.

Meanwhile, Beaconsfield Gold is seeking to assume full ownership of the mine and has raised about $11 million, with approvals to raise a further $20 million, to buy out Allstate. It has pre-emptive rights to do so.

When asked, after the rockfall of April 25 that killed miner Larry Knight, whether Mr Ryan had sufficient geotechnical skills to run a gold mine, his spokesman said Mr Ryan was a “very experienced” insolvency practitioner.

“He has acted as administrator, or in other official capacities, in several mining operations,” the spokesman said.

The Australian revealed in October that a confidential safety report by AMC Consultants in January warned that previous seismic damage at the Beaconsfield Mine “extends beyond the support capacity” and urged improvements to ground support.

Mr Ryan did not make the report available to his Beaconsfield Gold counterparts, they claimed.

The mine accident is subject to a Tasmanian government inquiry and a coronial inquest.

The move to appoint an experienced mining engineer to the BMJV committee comes as the high-grade gold mine inches closer to a possible reopening date.

The mine has been on care and maintenance since Anzac Day, with blasting recommencing December 1.

Mr Ryan said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, that the ore drive case for safety would be lodged with Workplace Standards Tasmania in January.

But there are still doubts whether the mine will be economically viable under the new safe production regime.

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