(Bloomberg) -- Australian Pacific Coal Ltd. and its joint venture partner have agreed terms for $60 million funding from Vitol Asia Pte Ltd., allowing them to restart a coal mine in New South Wales that’s been shut for more than 16 years. 

The venture with Tetra Resources is targeting initial production from the Dartbrook site in the first quarter of next year, Australian Pacific Coal said in a regulatory filing. The partners also entered a sales and marketing agreement with Vitol, a major global commodities trader, for all production from the site.

“Thermal coal prices remain robust and we have received numerous inbound inquiries for Dartbrook’s” product, Australian Pacific Coal’s interim Chief Executive Officer Ayten Saridas said. “We are confident in Vitol’s marketing capabilities and we look forward to working with them as we bring this world class asset back to full operational status.”

The announcement comes on the same day Australia’s energy minister highlighted the security risk of climate change in an annual address to parliament on the government’s efforts to tackle emissions. The nation is one of the world’s largest fossil-fuel exporters and has been criticized for allowing new coal and gas projects despite the climate crisis.

Australia expects its production of thermal coal — the most polluting fossil fuel — to rise 17% to 252 million tons in the year through June, although the value of exports is expected to decline, according to the government’s latest forecast. Dartbrook is in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales and is in good condition since being placed on a care and maintenance basis in 2007, according to Australia Pacific Coal. 


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