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Peabody Ends Coal Mine Sale to Ex-Australian Billionaire

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Peabody Energy Corp., the largest U.S. coal producer, is “evaluating its alternatives” for the $70 million sale of the Wilkie Creek mine in Australia after former billionaire Nathan Tinkler failed to make payments.

Tinkler will no longer acquire the shuttered mine through his Singapore-based Bentley Resources Ltd., St. Louis-based Peabody said in a statement yesterday. Bentley missed “subsequent obligations for the closing” after initially making a non-refundable deposit, the company said.

The sale, which was agreed to in May, also called for Bentley to assume liabilities including rail and port obligations.

Peabody closed Wilkie Creek, which is located in Queensland’s Surat Basin, last December because of falling thermal coal prices. The company bought the mine in 2002 to boost sales of the electricity-generating fuel to Asia.

Tinkler, an electrician-turned-entrepreneur, was ranked as Australia’s youngest billionaire at the age of 35 by BRW magazine in 2011 before a series of court cases and asset sales combined to reduce his wealth.

Peabody fell 1.9 percent to $15.66 at the close in New York. The shares have declined 20 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Loh in New York at tloh16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net Steven Frank, Tina Davis

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