Located 30km west of Wandoan in Queensland’s Surat Basin, the project now has proven reserves of 82.3Mt and probable reserves of 23.5Mt.
Northern Energy expects the upcoming mine to produce around 5Mt per annum of low ash volatile thermal coal for more than 20 years.
The company will now work to lodge applications for a mining lease over the area and to gain environmental approvals, and said the formal process of the environmental impact statement would start shortly.
Coal from the mine will be shipped through the proposed Wiggins Island Coal Terminal at Gladstone via the proposed Surat Basin Rail linking Wandoan with the existing Moura to Gladstone rail.
In an update on WICT, Northern Energy said the engineering design was continuing with a number of key areas almost completed to final design for stage one construction.
On the SBR project, Northern Energy said the environmental impact statement was currently moving through the public assessment process. The project aims to provide 42Mt of rail capacity from the Wandoan region, using larger unit trains than elsewhere in the state.
Northern is in negotiations with SBR for 5Mtpa capacity.
To meet the increase in tonnage that would come from SBR, Northern Energy and other coal companies are funding engineering studies to upgrade the capacity and standard of track on the Banana to Gladstone section of the existing coal network.
“The interdependence of these infrastructure projects has increased the complexity of the planning, design and funding process and this, together with the uncertainty created by the global financial crisis, has resulted in a revision of the timing of coal chain capacity for Elimatta,” Northern Energy said.
“Coal chain capacity is now expected to be available by mid-2013.”
Northern Energy previously expected the rail and port capacity to be available from mid-2012.
The WICT development is aiming to lift export capacity at Gladstone by 90Mt.
Shares in Northern Energy are up 2.5c, or 7.46%, to 36c.