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MetroCoal boosts coal resources

METROCOAL is close to achieving a resource exploration target of 2.5 billion tonnes following an aggressive drilling program at its tenements in the Surat Basin during the 2010-11 financial year.

Lauren Barrett
MetroCoal boosts coal resources

MetroCoal chief executive officer Mike O’Brien said positive drilling results were achieved at its tenements despite heavy rain throughout the year.

“Despite disruptions to field work due to prolonged wet weather in Queensland, we were able to press ahead with significant exploration and drilling programs to increase our resource inventory and the confidence levels in our coal assets,” O’Brien said.

Aggressive drilling at the company’s Bundi longwall project during the 2010-11 financial year increased the inferred resource from 56% to 595 million tonnes.

With 53 of 70 holes drilled, MetroCoal said the drilling program at Bundi was expected to be completed by the end of the 2011 calendar year.

It is currently seeking environmental approval for the proposed mine, which is targeting production in 2015.

MetroCoal’s Norwood project defined an inferred underground coal resource of 156Mt and is currently undergoing an environmental assessment.

Norwood is targeting 6.5Mt per annum of thermal coal and is due to commence construction in 2015.

Meanwhile, an inferred resource of 540Mt was identified at MetroCoal’s Columboola joint venture project with SinoCoal, in spite of unfavourable weather.

“Despite being hampered by persistent rain during the year, approximately 20 holes have been drilled at the time of reporting since the commencement of stage 1 in November 2010,” MetroCoal said.

A stage 2 drilling program has been planned on prospective areas at the project so mining studies can commence.

MetroCoal said it committed $2 million to progress the feasibility study for Stage 2 of the Wiggins Island coal export terminal and applied for 12Mtpa of capacity at the port which will be used to export coal from its Surat Basin tenements.

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