Xstrata's Wandoan mine getting complex

XSTRATA is investigating options to upscale its vast open cut Wandoan project in Queensland’s Surat Basin to a 100 million tonnes per annum mining complex catering to three other potential mines.
Xstrata's Wandoan mine getting complex Xstrata's Wandoan mine getting complex Xstrata's Wandoan mine getting complex Xstrata's Wandoan mine getting complex Xstrata's Wandoan mine getting complex

Xstrata's Wandoan project

Blair Price

Revealed in a presentation by chief executive Mick Davis to analysts in December, Xstrata has at least four prospective areas for coal mining near but not part of the Wandoan project, which is in the feasibility study phase for 30Mtpa of ROM coal output.

Within Xstrata’s mining development licence applications, the Meeleebee prospect in MDLA 411 holds an exploration target estimate between 700Mt and 1.3 billion tonnes.

The same target estimate applies to the Cowangah prospect in MDLA 412.

Further north the Cattle Creek prospect in MDLA 414 is looking at 600Mt-1.1Bt, while to the east the Orazabah prospect in MDLA 413 has a target estimate of 400-700Mt.

Xstrata is also looking at the Wandoan Extended prospect targeting 1.5-3Bt of coal resources but no application had been lodged for the area at the time of the presentation.

An Xstrata spokesperson told ILN the extra areas under consideration would be in addition to the planned 30Mtpa Wandoan mine and would not be a direct expansion of the Wandoan operation.

“It may ultimately form four mines or a Wandoan complex as such,” he said.

The spokesperson said the overall Wandoan project, including the planned mining area and the potential development of three other regions, was highly dependent on the successful completion of feasibility studies from infrastructure providers Surat Basin Rail, Queensland Rail, the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal consortium and Xstrata’s own Balaclava coal terminal project.

The Wandoan feasibility studies are due by year-end with Xstrata recently submitting a supplementary environmental impact statement to the Queensland Coordinator-General, who is tipped to issue an evaluation report within months.

Early works for the multi-billion dollar Wandoan project are scheduled to start this year while construction is slated to start in 2011 and mining will kick off in 2013, according to the supplementary EIS.

Xstrata expects the 30Mtpa development of Wandoan to generate $A9.7-12 billion for regional, state and national economies during the total two-year construction and 30-year operational periods.

The Wandoan Joint Venture consists of Xstrata at 75% along with Itochu Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation at 12.5% each.