Whitehaven Coal faces legal challenge, Breville acquires Italian brand LELIT and Regis Resources reports record gold production

Whitehaven Coal WHC Narrabri Breville BRG LELIT Regis Resources RRL gold Commonwealth Bank CBA Rio Tinto ASX
A group of bushfire survivors have launched legal action attempting to block Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri coal mine expansion.

Whitehaven Coal (ASX: WHC) has been forced to face the music as a group of bushfire survivors known as Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action (BSCA) have launched legal action in an attempt to block a major expansion of the company’s coal mine in New South Wales.

The group claims that should  the expansion go ahead, it would become one of the dirtiest thermal coal mines in Australia.

The activist group has challenged the decision of the state’s Independent Planning Commission (IPC) to approve Whitehaven’s Narrabri extension.

The expansion is worth $400 million and will extend the mine’s life by 13 years to 2044, although burning the coal would contribute almost half a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

BSCA spokesperson Fiona Lee said the fight is personal to protect everyday livelihood as well as the environment.

“Homes, businesses, farms, infrastructure are being destroyed and lives are being lost and imperilled,” she said.

“As bushfire survivors, we stand shoulder to shoulder with all climate survivors, determined to fight for safer communities.”

Whitehaven has assured shareholders it will “vigorously defend the proceedings” as the high-quality thermal coal it produces plays a significant role in providing energy security during the decarbonisation transition.

Breville Group

Australian multinational manufacturer and marketer of home appliances Breville Group (ASX: BRG) has announced the 100% acquisition of Italian-based prosumer coffee group, LELIT.

LELIT was founded in Italy in 1985 and is known for designing, manufacturing, and marketing premium prosumer home coffee equipment in Europe and across the globe.

Breville believe the acquisition of LELIT “strategically complements Breville’ s award-winning coffee portfolio and brings together two iconic companies in the design and distribution of preeminent home coffee equipment”.

As part of the transaction, total consideration comprised $84 million in cash and the issue of 3.1 million Breville shares.

As the news broke this week, certain members of the LELIT Group management team have also made the move to join Breville.

Regis Resources

Perth-based gold producer and explorer Regis Resources (ASX: RRL) has reported record total gold production at its Duketon and Tropicana projects for the June quarter and 2022 financial year.

As a result of increasing production efforts by 20% over the June quarter, the company saw a new record production of 123,900 ounces of gold.

On top of this, full-year production climbed  17% to 437,000oz, aligning with its production guidance for the financial year.

Regis managing director Jim Beyer said he expects gold production to increase even more in FY23.

“We are very pleased to deliver a record quarter of gold production for the June 2022 quarter,” he said.

“We have seen reliable delivery on our improvement plans that were developed and implemented to address the operational challenges we experienced in the first half of the year.

“This has seen the company deliver an improved performance despite the challenging external conditions.”

Commonwealth Bank

Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) has urged the Australian Treasury to develop a new scam code that incorporates banks, digital platforms, telcos, crypto exchanges and other payment providers to make sure greater awareness into the growing levels of fraud is spread around.

One of Australia’s leading banks has also called on its customers to take more responsibility for internet security, after already introducing stricter transaction authentication processes in its banking app.

Over $2 billion in losses were reported in the past year as per a report published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

One of the Albanese government’s election promises outlined the willingness to reduce scams and improve protections on the internet.

It is believed the Treasury is now developing the policy and early consultation with the banks and other sectors has commenced.

Commonwealth Bank executive general manager for everyday banking Kate Crous said the government’s broad direction was appropriate, but it needs to be accessible across multiple industries.

“CBA is not coming out today saying we are behind Labor’s manifesto, but what we are saying is CBA supports an ecosystem-wide approach to how we resolve scams because unless we come from an ecosystem [multi-industry] approach, we are not going to solve the problem,” she said.

The bank has also announced it will continue in its efforts to prevent fraud including increasing the size of its team and launching new tools for customers to authenticate transactions to block fraud. 

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) has been forced to halt operations at its Simandou iron ore mine project in Guinea after the country’s mines minister stated the involved companies missed an extended deadline to agree a joint venture.

The news comes as a fresh setback for Australia’s second-largest mining company, who entered a framework agreement in March with Chinese-backed Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS).

Guinea’s mines minister Moussa Magassouba said the companies’ failure to comply with the deadline showed a “lack of willingness” to work on a partnership.

“Despite the significant concessions the Guinean State has been kind enough to make, it is clear the obstruction is being maintained by both your companies, to the detriment of the interests of the project,” he said.

The setback makes the progression unclear for what is considered the world’s biggest untapped resource of the steelmaking ingredient iron ore.

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