The proposed tolling arrangements will allow the Tarrawonga mine to use the coal handling and processing plant plus the rail spur facilities of Idemitsu’s nearby Boggabri mine.
Idemitsu owns 30% of the Tarrawonga JV with Whitehaven (70%), and the agreement also aims to keep this same level of ownership for the tenements within the expanded area of the Tarrawonga mine.
Whitehaven said the heads of agreement is subject to various conditions, including approval for the expansion plans at both mines.
The Tarrawonga mine is permitted to extract up to 2 million tonnes per annum of coal, but Whitehaven said in its March quarterly report that it lodged a project modification application with the NSW government to produce up to 3Mtpa at the mine.
Details of this project application are not available from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure’s website.
The O’Farrell government is working on the transitional arrangements for planning approvals as part of its goal to remove Part 3A from the state’s planning laws, causing various delays.
The state government also recently imposed a 60 day moratorium on new coal, coal seam gas and petroleum exploration licences.
The Boggabri mine exported 1.55Mt of coal in 2009, and the project to expand production to 7Mtpa for 21 years is at the “assessment” stage of the state’s planning system.
Whitehaven shares closed down 8c to $5.82 yesterday.