Peabody loses legal battle over Wilkie Creek contract

PEABODY has lost its case over a contract with the company involved in exporting coal from the Wilkie Creek mine.

Earlier this year a supreme court justice found in favour of the Port of Brisbane operating company Queensland Bulk Handling (QBH) after a legal dispute over its contract with the mining company.

Peabody, which operated the Surat Basin mine between Dalby and Chinchilla, took this decision to the Queensland Court of Appeal and it was revealed on Friday it had lost the fight.

QBH claimed it had entered into a contract with the mining company that would last until 2026.

Under the agreement Peabody also had to provide a minimum annual coal throughput each year.

Peabody disputed its contract would last until 2026, instead claiming the agreement was for the period between 2008 and December 2014.

Peabody sold the Wilkie Creek mine for about $100 million earlier this year after the mine stopped operating in December 2013.

Brisbane Supreme Court determined earlier this year that the companies had legally entered into the agreement for the extended term until 2026.

Friday's Court of Appeal judgment from Justice Hugh Fraser supported the previous court decision, finding in favour of QBH.

"This is not a case in which the contract is unambiguous," he said.

He said Peabody had argued that it had the right to refuse the extended contract. But he also said Peabody had given QBH a "contractually binding commitment".