BRIEFS

COAL

COAL

Shares jump

Whitehaven Coal shares

jumped 8.1 per cent on speculation that China's Shenhua was interested in bidding for the company. Whitehaven told the stock exchange Shenhua had not made a proposal but confirmed it had held discussions with the Chinese group. Whitehaven shares closed up 26ยข at $3.47, valuing the company above $3.5 billion.

CASINO

Skycity boost

The operator of Adelaide's Skycity Casino will push ahead with a $300 million upgrade after signing a deal with the South Australian government allowing the installation of more gaming tables and poker machines. The casino will pay the government $20 million and has agreed to comply with revised measures to deal with problem gambling.

BANK

On the board

Merger and acquisitions lawyer Ewen Crouch is joining Westpac's board. Mr Crouch has been the chairman of Allens law firm since 2009. He will step down from his role at Allens on January 31 and join Westpac as an independent non-executive director on February 1.

URANIUM

Wiluna delay

Toro Energy has expressed its disappointment at a further delay to its Wiluna project in Western Australia, which is the front-runner as the state's first uranium mine. Toro said

federal Environment Minister Tony Burke had delayed a decision on whether to

approve the project and requested more information.

He delayed his decision until March 31.

OIL

Charges laid

Two BP rig supervisors charged with manslaughter in the

death of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon will go on trial in 2014. Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine are accused of disregarding high pressure readings that should have

been indications of trouble before BP's well blowout. Prosecutors said they expect to provide more than a million pages of information to the defence.

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