Aquila's grand plans

THE Peak Downs East and Belvedere underground coal developments are major parts of Perth-based Aquila Resources' grand plan to build a 10 million tonne per annum business within the next five years.
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Coal loading at Aquila Resources' Isaac Plains coal mine.

Angie Tomlinson

Aquila Resources Coal general manager Andrew Matheson told delegates at the Australian Coal Summit that Aquila planned to build a 10Mtpa company focused on metallurgical coal from its existing portfolio of assets.

For its 50%-owned Peak Downs East Underground project the company this month submitted a mining lease application and has commenced an environmental impact statement.

Peak Downs East, jointly owned with CVRD, holds inferred resources of 696Mt and targets the Q, Harrow Creek Upper and Lower and Dysart seams. Depths range from 170m to 600m.

Aquila says the project has the potential for a multi-seam longwall mine and top coal caving over a life of 30 years.

At the Belvedere Coal underground project, of which Aquila owns 24.5% with CVRD owning the remainder, there are plans around two longwalls producing up to 9Mtpa.

The project is targeting a hard coking coal resource. A review of historical data has also shown that the targeted seams extend further to the west and south, and Aquila has taken out two additional exploration permits to investigate these further.

Among Aquila's Queensland assets is its 100%-owned Washpool project near Emerald, which is targeting the Burngrove formation and Scorpio seam. To date a concept study has been commenced and 40 open holes have been drilled.

Also in Queensland is the 100%-owned Red Hill project targeting the Rangal Coal Measures. The current phase drilling program is complete with the LHD and Vermont seams intersected between 30m and 330m.

A concept mining study is expected next month.

Further from home Aquila has established a joint venture with Jonah Capital and Scharrig Mining in South Africa. The company is currently using a team in-country to accelerate exploration and evaluation work at its Botswana tenements.

According to Matheson the biggest challenges for Aquila in developing projects are the speed to market; establishment of joint venture relationships and a project team to enable the delivery; project delivery taking into account timing and capital cost; and the competition for resources across other projects.