MetroCoal executives were in Beijing on Friday for the second joint venture committee meeting.
“We are very pleased that funds are now in place and that drilling has begun on the Columboola coal project, near Miles in the central Surat Basin,” MetroCoal chairman David Barwick said.
“From a MetroCoal perspective, we are very fortunate to have a partner of the calibre and quality of SinoCoal. We are very confident the JV will be a great success.”
MetroCoal’s exploration manager, Neil Mackenzie-Forbes, was appointed as general manager of the JV while SinoCoal’s Jiangong Zhu was appointed as deputy general manager.
“Neil will bring significant knowledge of the Surat Basin to the Columboola JV,” MetroCoal chief executive Mike O’Brien said.
“In particular, he has fostered a very good relationship with the SinoCoal team and the landowners whose properties are within EPC 1165.”
The JV aims to prove up between 830 million and 1.165 billion tonnes of thermal coal resources at the project, with most of it slated for longwall mining.
Drilling has started for the initial 30-hole program.
SinoCoal is a subsidiary of China National Coal Group.
MetroCoal aims to be the first company to bring longwall mining to the Surat Basin. O’Brien was general manager of the South Bulli longwall mine in 1991-92.
MetroCoal shares are up half a cent to 29.5c this morning.