The optimization plan builds on the definitive feasibility study published in February which projected a pre-tax net present value of $US662 million of the operation.
Beacon Hill chairman Justin Lewis said the miner was focused on the expansion of Minas Moatize.
“Having completed a further drilling program, we have now commenced further test work to facilitate and progress the optimization of the design of the phase 3 wash plant and the overall pit design,” he said.
“A successful outcome of the tests will result in a further improvement of the overall economics of the project through higher coking coal yields.
“The next step for the Minas Moatize mine is the expansion of the current wash plant, doubling its processing capacity to 1.2Mtpa ROM coal.”
A drilling program recommended in the DFS has been completed and will upgrade the mine’s reserves and provide further test data for washability, liberation and flotation which will be used to optimize the design of the life-of-mine wash plant.
Minas Moatize is situated in Mozambique’s coal-rich Tete province and began coking coal production last March with first export shipments planned for mid-2012.