Hancock hits feasibility milestone

HANCOCK Coal has completed the final draft of the bankable feasibility study for its giant Alpha coal project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin while thermal coal from the bulk sample pit is expected to be hauled in late May.
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Gina Rinehart with former GVK Hancock managing director Paul Mulder hold the final draft of the Alpha project BFS.

Blair Price

About 100,000 tonnes of product, toll-washed coal will be sampled.

This coal will be hauled by road then railed to Gladstone for export.

The first shipment will arrive in South Korea around mid-August, followed by another shipment to potential power generating customers in Japan.

Targeting 30 million tonnes per annum of saleable production, the Alpha open cut project is expected to use six draglines when it hits peak production in a 30-year initial mine life.

First coal of 10Mtpa run-of-mine is expected in 2014, with production increasing by 10Mtpa each year until peaking at 40Mtpa in 2017.

The project hosts 3.62 billion tonnes of resources, including 821Mt in the measured category.

After more than a year of exhaustive studies, the final draft of the BFS was completed on April 15. It is not yet publicly available.

Hancock expects to receive environmental approvals for the Alpha project next year.

Public consultation on the environmental impact statement ended in late 2010 and the report on the EIS from Queensland’s coordinator-general remains pending.

Hancock’s nearby Kevin’s Corner longwall project aims to produce 4.4Mt of thermal coal in 2015.

Longwall mining of the D seam is expected to lift production to 13Mt in 2016, 16.1Mt in 2017, 22Mt in 2018, 36.5Mt in 2019 and 28.3Mt in 2020.

Hancock won preferred developer status for its proposed T3 coal terminal at Abbot Point last year.

T3 is expected to provide 60Mtpa of capacity to accommodate both of the company’s large Galilee projects.

Hancock plans to build 495 kilometres of rail to connect its two proposed mining complexes to the terminal, under a multi-user strategy which could open up the unexploited coal basin.

The standard gauge track will be designed to accommodate 25,000-tonne trains – more than double the typical coal train loads in the state.

Hancock has already inked an agreement with state-owned utility Powerlink for electricity, with two 15km, 132 kilovolt transmission lines planned to hook up the two mining projects.

Water supply is expected to come from a proposed 350km pipeline from Conners River Dam to Moranbah, then to the two projects.

Hancock stepped up marketing efforts in December and detailed its development goals for both the Kevin’s Corner and Alpha projects in an investment brochure released before Christmas.

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