Whitehaven Coal's chairman has told shareholders the company's future is assured following a difficult year in which it posted a $82 million loss and its share price more than halved.
Chairman Mark Vaile said that although global coal markets had been tight and prices flat, there had been a modest improvement in thermal and metallurgical coal prices in recent months.
Mr Vaile said the ramp-up of the company's flagship Narrabri underground mine and development of the Maules Creek open pit mine would equip it for the future with two large, low cost, highly productive and efficient mines.
"We doubled our coal sales in fiscal 2013 and have plans to more than double production again over the next three years," he said at the company's annual general meeting on Monday.
"As you are aware, Whitehaven is a company in transition from being a four million tonne (a year) producer to 23 million tonne producer with two, world class tier-one mines."
However, the highly regarded $767 million Maules Creek project has been delayed by court action by opponents who say it will damage the local environment north of Sydney. A decision is expected next month.
A ruling against it would put pressure on Whitehaven's balance sheet with its planned cashflows from coal sales at the new mine also delayed.
The company last month said it had started talks with its lenders, led by ANZ, about restructuring its $1.2 billion debt facility because of delays to Maules Creek.
The company's market capitalisation is currently only $1.6 billion with its share price falling from $3.61 in early January.The shares dropped six cents to $1.545 on Monday.