Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Ltd is about to invite expressions of interest for its 16,570-hectare Liverpool Plains landholdings in north-west NSW.
The price tag for the entirety is expected to be at least $120 million, CBRE Agrtibusiness managing director David Goodfellow said, announcing that his firm will stage a pre-campaign launch event in Gunnedah ahead of the formal EOI campaign.
The sale comes after Shenhua Watermark Coal's relinquished its exploration and mining licences in an agreement with the NSW government.
The sale is made up of three aggregations. Breeza is the centrepiece, expected to raise at least $115m. At about 14,246ha, it is the largest of the three and comprises 14 properties acquired between 2009 and 2010 plus three dwellings and an office located in Gunnedah.
Located in the Curlewis/Breeza locality, the aggregation is currently used for dryland cropping (cereals, legumes and cotton) and beef cattle grazing. Breeza is being sold with a 608 megalitre groundwater entitlement and 1215ML of seasonal stream flows.
About an hour away from Breeza sit the Tambar Springs and Barraba aggregations, which were purchased by the mining company in order to meet NSW government demands that Shenhua offset its activities with green land uses.
The circa 1,208ha Tambar Springs aggregation comprises two holdings within two kilometres of each other. The holdings are currently used for both mixed dryland cropping and beef cattle production.
The Barraba aggregation has a total land area of 1,114ha and comprises two non-contiguous, nearby landholdings. Approximately 583ha is considered grazing land, with the balance comprising remnant vegetation. The land area is principally used for beef cattle production.
CBRE Agribusiness manager James Auty said the Gunnedah region was well- known for its highly productive soils, wide range of well-proven agricultural systems and typically even distribution of rainfall throughout the year.
"This means the region can grow pastures for breeding and fattening livestock right through the year as well as growing both summer crops and winter crops for grain and/or fodder - lending these landholdings to an incredibly wide range of purposes," Mr Auty said.
"In addition, some of the land is also highly suited to native forest regeneration for the production of carbon credits, which are quickly becoming very valuable given the current corporate demand to achieve zero net emissions targets."
Shenhua representative Chris Walker said a competitive pitch process had led to the appointment of CBRE's Agribusiness team to sell the underlying property assets.
"We have owned the majority of these assets for over 10 years and have formed good relationships with the farmers who have continued to work the land during this time," Mr Walker said.
"With CBRE's help, we look forward to moving the properties over to the farming community and returning the land to agricultural pursuits."
The Shenhua landholdings comprise the Breeza, Tambar Springs and Barraba aggregations, which are located in and around the Gunnedah region. The holdings are currently leased to seven tenants.
Mr Goodfellow said the sales process would allow local farmers to compete against larger corporate agribusiness investors.
"A landholding of this size and annual productivity is very suitable for a combination of local farming businesses to acquire individual sites to add onto their existing operations," Mr Goodfellow said.
"It will also be appealing to the corporate agribusiness sector who can see the huge economic benefits of properties with very large scale.
"In addition, the site offers potential benefits from the creation of carbon credits, which adds to the overall financial returns."
Expressions of interest in the Shenhua landholdings will close on August 26, 2021.