Soild Energy chair Dunphy steps down, Andy Coupe to act as chair

"Ms Dunphy has played a very important leadership role in the company"

 Solid Energy chair Pip Dunphy has stepped down from the board of the ailing state-owned coal miner before her term expires in October.

Dunphy joined the board in December 2012 when the state-owned enterprise went through a board-room clean-out after the failed expansion under past chief executive Don Elder and previous chairman John Palmer. She took over from Mark Ford as chair in March last year when he stepped down for personal reasons. Independent director Andy Coupe will take over as acting chair until a permanent replacement is appointed.

"Ms Dunphy has played a very important leadership role in the company," State Owned Enterprises Minister Todd McClay said in a statement. "I am very grateful for her work leading both the assessment of a potential re-entry into the Pike River Mine, and the company's engagement with the Pike River families. We wish her well."

Last November Solid Energy decided against re-entering the Pike River drift, and surrendered its mining permit, and in January the government decided to add the mine and surrounding area to the Paparoa National Park.

A restructuring of Solid Energy was announced in 2013, coinciding with the publication of the annual reports, after collapsing coking coal prices on world markets exposed the company's over-commitment to a range of development initiatives, including development of options to turn lignite coal into diesel and urea, and renewable energy products such as pellets for wood burners.

Last year, Solid Energy received an extension of its $103 million remediation indemnity with the Crown to reimburse the cost of rehabilitation expenses of the company, Pike River (2012) and Spring Creek Mining Co.

McClay said the company continues to focus on returning to profitability in the face of weak global coal prices.