Bandanna's feasible longwall ambitions

FEASIBILITY studies have been completed for three of Bandanna Energy’s Bowen Basin thermal coal projects, with the Springsure Creek project targeting two longwall operations for 11 million tonnes per annum run-of-mine.
Bandanna's feasible longwall ambitions Bandanna's feasible longwall ambitions Bandanna's feasible longwall ambitions Bandanna's feasible longwall ambitions Bandanna's feasible longwall ambitions

South Galilee project drilling, image courtesy of Bandanna.

Blair Price

The initial production from one longwall operation is aiming for 5.5Mtpa ROM, with first development coal expected as early as 2014 and first longwall coal due a year later.

Bandanna did not reveal any dates for starting a second longwall to double production.

Larpro Projects, which also completed the feasibility studies for Bandanna’s Arcturus and Dingo West projects, based the Springsure Creek feasibility study on at least a 23-year mine life for production of 195.8Mt of product coal.

As the coal is expected to have less than 10% ash on an air-dried basis, the proposed development does not include building a coal handling and processing plant.

Coal will be hauled through the Baunhnia line connecting the Blackwater rail system for export through the proposed Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal near Gladstone.

The operational workforce is forecast to reach 332 for two longwall operations, while the peak construction workforce is tipped to number 300.

Springsure Creek is part of Bandanna’s wholly owned “golden triangle” of projects, including the Arcturus and Arcadia projects, with all the tenements within 50 kilometres of each other in thermal coal turf in the southern Bowen Basin.

With the feasibility study completed, the Arcturus project is targeting 5Mtpa of product coal through open cut mining, and underground mining in the later years.

First coal could be in 2014, subject to government approvals, while the final open cut strip will open up access for highwall mining and the establishment of a punch longwall operation.

No coal preparation plant was included as part of the mine’s designs as the raw coal has an expected ash content of 13%.

The mine will use the same port and rail arrangements as Springsure Creek.

Larpro assessed that the first 17 years of mining would produce 70.1Mt of coal.

Construction is expected to employ up to 240 construction workers, while mining will need a 200-strong operational workforce.

The Dingo West open cut project will be the first cab off the rank for the company with coal production tipped for late 2012, pending government approvals.

Located next to the Blackwater rail corridor and 250km from Gladstone, the southern area of the permit hosts several suitable open pit locations for a truck and shovel operation.

The small open cut project is targeting 1Mtpa of product coal, including pulverised coal injection coal, with a mine life of at least 18 years.

Construction is expected to require up to 220 workers while mining will employ 110.

Larpro found that all these projects have a “material positive” net present value in its economic assessments.

“The receipt of the feasibility studies is a significant milestone in moving the projects toward production,” Bandanna managing director Dr Ray Shaw said.

“Based on the positive outcomes of these studies, Bandanna will undertake definitive feasibility studies on each of these projects to better define in detail the projects and related costs."

The Arcadia project near Xstrata’s Rolleston mine holds potential for two longwall operations, but the feasibility study results are not in yet for this golden triangle project.

The prospect of fully integrating the golden triangle projects has Bandanna contemplating more than 20Mtpa of coal production from open cut and underground operations.

Bandanna plans to bring in joint venture partners to acquire project interests and help fund development.

The company is also prepared to put up to half of its large stake in the $1.5 billion South Galilee open cut and underground thermal coal project on the table.

Private resources company AMCI is set to earn up to half of this project from Bandanna by funding $25 million of exploration and development.

Bandanna shares closed up 3.3% yesterday to $1.86, overcoming a sea of red in a grim trading day on the local bourse.

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