Jagatramka disputes $60m mine debt

Arun Jagatramka, the former chairman of the company now called Wollongong Coal, has denied that his Indian company, Gujarat NRE, owes more than $60 million to the Wollongong miner.

Instead, he says, Wollongong Coal owes more than $38 million to Gujarat NRE, as well as unpaid salaries to himself and to his son.

Mr Jagatramka was responding to a story published on the Mercury's website on Friday night, and in Saturday's print edition, which contained the claim that Gujarat NRE owes Wollongong Coal $60 million.

That claim is included in a prospectus issued by Wollongong Coal on April 30.

The same document lists a number of cross-claims by Gujarat NRE against Wollongong Coal, totalling about $90 million.

According to the prospectus, Wollongong Coal has rejected all of these claims.

However, Mr Jagatramka told the Mercury on Sunday that the primary claim by Gujarat NRE involves about $38 million.

He said this was for an adjustment to payments of around $200 million by Gujarat NRE for coal delivered between 2010 and 2011.

The adjustment, he said, was necessary because the shipped coal contained higher levels of waste (in the form of ash) than had been estimated prior to shipment.

He said the specific level of ash was measured and certified by independent experts upon delivery, and such invoice adjustments were routine in the coal business.

According to the prospectus, the board of Wollongong Coal rejected this claim at a board meeting on October 27, 2013.

Mr Jagatramka also told the Mercury that he still had not received his salary for the five months prior to his departure from the company.

He said the company had stopped paying his salary last year during the period when it was unable to pay its mine workers. He said his son had also not been paid for some casual work and is owed about $1300.


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