Greens: Solid Energy buyers need to be vetted

Stockton mine is expected to attract the most attention (file)
Stockton mine is expected to attract the most attention (file)

There are calls for the Government to ensure global coal cowboys don't get their hands on any of Solid Energy's assets.

Insolvent state-owned miner Solid Energy is embarking on a gradual sell-off of its assets to help service some of its mountain of debt.

Buller Mayor Garry Howard says it is encouraging that potential buyers are already emerging, including the Australian-based investor who made a last minute bid to creditors.

But the Green Party's energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes wants the Government to ensure they aren't sold for a song to just anyone, and to ensure any potential buyers are properly vetted.

It comes amid speculation an Indian coal giant with a poor health and safety record is eyeing the West Coast's Stockton mine.

"This one company, when you look at their annual report, they were responsible for 46 fatalities last year," he says. "So whoever does apply, we need to be looking at their track record.

"We need to make sure we've got an operator who cares about the environment, and social issues, and local communities."

Mr Howard expects Stockton mine will attract the most attention and should sell in the first 12 months, but says there's still anxiety about the sales process.

"The outcome that I'm looking for is just a change of nameplates with a company that hasn't got debt as a burden," Mr Howard says.

Solid Energy says it can't give any assurances that there will not be job losses during the sales process.