New Hope Coal’s operations, including the Jeebropilly Coal Mine (pictured), may be taken over by JSW Steel.
New Hope Coal’s operations, including the Jeebropilly Coal Mine (pictured), may be taken over by JSW Steel. Sarah Harvey

India eyes New Hope

REPORTS that Ipswich-based coal mining company New Hope Corporation may be taken over by Indian company JSW Steel have been welcomed by union officials.

New Hope has been locked in a 10-month pay dispute with workers but the CFMEU said workers will vote on a final pay offer from the company this week.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Union vice president Shane Brunker said while his union didn't fully support foreign ownership, workers would probably be better off if the deal went through.

"We're not happy that it may be a foreign-owned company but any employer would be better than the current management," he said.

Workers will be voting tomorrow on a last-minute offer put forward by the company before protected action was due to start.

Mr Brunker said an expansion of New Hope's mining operations had already been approved and a change of company ownership would help fast track jobs and opportunities for workers.

"New Hope has just been scratching around in ant-hills for years," he said.

"It's probably time that a decent size company came in and made the most of the opportunity anyway. Given the New Hope management structure and their industrial relations policy it's a good thing for sure."

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, India's third largest steel producer hopes to secure the $5 billion company, giving it a Queensland based export terminal.

New Hope Chairman Robert Milner declined to comment on the takeover rumours when contacted by the Queensland Times.

The potential takeover bid came as State Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe announced the state had attracted a record $1.126 billion in resource exploration investment in the last year.

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