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Ward Hadaway advises on £14.7m private equity deal

LAW firm Ward Hadaway has advised on a £14.7m private equity investment in the mining sector.

The UK Top 100 firm provided legal advice to West Cumbria Mining on a £14.7m investment in the company by Australian-managed private equity fund EMR Capital Resources Fund 1, LP.

Mining deal – Ward Hadaway Corporate Partner Gavin Maddison, who led the firm's team advising on West Cumbria Mining on a £14.7m investment in the company.

Mining deal – Ward Hadaway Corporate Partner Gavin Maddison, who led the firm’s team advising West Cumbria Mining on a £14.7m investment in the company.

West Cumbria Mining will use the funding to support the next stage of development at its Whitehaven Coking Coal Project (WCCP), which aims to create a large-scale mining operation in the Whitehaven area.

The WCCP is a 200 sq km area located adjacent to the south of, and contiguous with, the Haig Colliery in Whitehaven, from which millions of tonnes of high quality coking coals were extracted from 1914 until it closed in 1986, much of it beneath the seabed, up to five miles offshore.

West Cumbria Mining wants to create a large scale underground coking coal operation at the site extending offshore, with access via onshore drifts.

The mine would be sized to produce around three million tonnes per annum of coking coal to supply the steelmaking industry in the UK and across Europe.

Funding from EMR Capital Resources, which specializes in investing in mining operations, will be used to finance an onshore and offshore drilling campaign in the coalfield and to complete a preliminary feasibility study into the plans.

The work is planned to be undertaken during the rest of 2014 and the first half of 2015.

West Cumbria Mining chief executive Mark Kirkbride said: “The company is delighted to announce completion of this financing for its Whitehaven Coking Coal Project.

“The support of such a high quality institutional investor, in EMR, is testament to the strong fundamentals of the Project and its potential to become the next substantial, low cost, coking coal mining operation in the UK.”

Gavin Maddison, Corporate Partner in the Leeds office of Ward Hadaway, led the law firm’s team advising West Cumbria Mining on the investment, with support from Corporate Associate Catherine Hinchliffe.

Gavin said: “We are delighted to have assisted West Cumbria Mining on this significant investment in the company from a leading player in this specialist sector.

“Our experience and track record of advising on private equity transactions, including those with an international element, and our ability to call on the expertise of specialists from within Ward Hadaway ensured that we were able to help West Cumbria Mining complete the financing successfully.

“The company has exciting plans for what would be a major development in the Whitehaven area and this investment will help to advance those ambitions further.”

EMR Capital Resources Fund 1 is an Australian-managed mining-focused private equity fund targeting around $400m in funds under management by EMR Capital GP 1 Limited.

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