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Cattle stations up for grabs

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Cattle stations up for grabs
Camera IconCattle stations up for grabs Credit: The West Australian

South African interests are looking to offload four cattle stations covering more than one million hectares of the Kimberley after reaching a breakthrough deal with on stocking levels.

The South African WA Pastoral Company wants about $75 million for Moola Bulla (394,236ha), Mt Amhurst (259,201ha), Beefwood Park (205,555ha) and Shamrock Station (178,141ha).

Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting came close to buying the stations last year but a major sticking point was the cattle-carrying capacity of Moola Bulla and Mt Amhurst, which are run as one station.

Until recently they were only approved to carry about 9000-head, despite covering a vast area near Halls Creek.

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The WA Pastoral Lands Board recently ticked off on a management plan boosting the carrying capacity to almost 30,000.

The deal comes amid speculation the State Government is preparing to disband the PLB and replace it with a new body to help oversee a pastoral estate covering more than 85 million hectares. Agents acting for SAWA are telling potential buyers the stations have more than 60,000 cattle. Some in the industry have questioned that figure, which is said to include a high portion of unmarked calves.

SAWA purchased Moola Bulla and Mt Amhurst for about $20 million less than five years ago.

The properties were in the hands of receivers McGrath-Nicol after the collapse of Great Southern, which had paid $30 million for the stations under one of its managed investment schemes. In 2009, Moola Bulla-Mt Amhurst was passed in at auction after a $25 million bid from Consolidated Pastoral Company failed to meet the reserve.

Attempts to sell the stations were complicated by the stocking limit. Cattle industry heavyweight Ken Warriner, representing CPC owners Terra Firma, is understood to have had at least two meetings with WA authorities, including the PLB, in an attempt to have the stocking limit increased.

9000The previous stocking limit for two cattle stations covering more than 650,000ha in the Kimberley

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