New chairman for Bathurst Resources

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 12:05 14/02/2014

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Former Electricity Corporation chief executive Dave Frow is the new chairman of Wellington-based coal company Bathurst Resources.

Perth-based Craig Munro is stepping down as the head of the Bathurst board on March 31, when Frow will take over. Munro has been chairman since 2009.

"It is an appropriate time now to step down given that the Escarpment mine has been consented and the company moves into its next phase of development as a fully-New Zealand Company," Munro said

In the middle of last year, Bathurst closed its small Perth office and appointed two New Zealand directors to the Board, Frow and Toko Kapea, completing its redomicile from Australia to New Zealand. Frow will now take on the role of chairman, based in Wellington, allowing management easier and greater access to the board.

Late last year, Bathurst increased South Buller coal reserves to 34.4 million tonnes after court decisions gave the coalminer the go-ahead for further mining on the West Coast. The miner, listed on both the NZX and ASX, said it had increased reserves tonnage after analysis of exploration programmes.

Bathurst last year got through a court challenge process led by environmental groups, allowing it to proceed with the Escarpment mine, near Westport, in the first quarter of this year. The Escarpment mine is part of the wider Buller Coal Project, which also includes coal reserves at Cascade, Deep Creek, Coalbrookdale and Whareatea West tenements.

Frow was chief of executive of ECNZ for six years until 1999 and worked for the corporation for more than 20 years. At the time he left, ECNZ had achieved an average 10 per cent return on equity since it was set up in 1988. In that time, it returned $4.1 billion to its Government shareholders as dividends and taxes - $5.9b when special dividends from the sale of Transpower and Contact are included.

Frow is a widely experienced company director, chief executive and engineer, with particular expertise in the energy sector where he has been employed by major companies in New Zealand, South Africa, England and Scotland, Bathurst said.

He is a director of Aurora Energy Ltd, Delta Utility Services Ltd, Holmes Fire LP, ETEL Ltd, ETEL Transformers Pty Ltd (Australia) and advisory board chairman for Petroleum Solutions Ltd. He was on the Waste Management board early last decade.

Now based in Martinborough, Frow has a mechanical engineering degree and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School advanced management programme.

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