Bathurst Resources to reincorporate as NZ company

It also intend to raise funds and equity in New Zealand as part of its development plans.

Bathurst Resources, the West Australia-based company given tentative approval for its Escarpment coal mine on the West Coast's Denniston Plateau last month, plans to reincorporate as a New Zealand company.

The change will be by way of a scheme of arrangement, with shareholders being issued one share in Bathurst NZ for each existing Bathurst share held, the company says today. The plan needs approval of shareholders and Australian courts and regulators.

"As we gear up to become one of New Zealand's largest coal producers, it makes sense to incorporate in New Zealand," chairman Craig Munro says.

"We intend to raise funds and equity in New Zealand as part of our development plans and we will continue our on-going recruitment of New Zealanders, which we've been doing in the past three years."

Bathurst gained tentative approval from the Environment Court for the Escarpment Mine project, from which it aims to extract a million tonnes of hard coking coal a year. Production last year was 200,000 tonnes.

Environmental groups including the Royal New Zealand Forest & Bird Society have vowed to continue fighting the development.

The shares fell 7.3 percent to 38 cents on the NZX and have declined 18 percent this year. Shares of new Bathurst will continue to trade on the NZX and ASX, it says.