New Chinese joint venture partner SinoCoal Resources contracted Dynamic Drilling to drill the deep exploration holes with the first rotary hole targeting the full Walloon subgroup, consisting of the Juandah and Taroom coal measures.
The drilling program consists of 30 evenly spaced holes using two rigs.
“We are very excited that drilling has commenced and are very pleased geological consultants Geos Mining and Dynamic Drilling have worked hard to commence drilling in challenging conditions and short timeframes,” MetroCoal chief executive Mike O’Brien said.
The explorer 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.
SinoCoal is a subsidiary of China National Coal Group.
Under the joint venture agreement, the Chinese company will get a 51% interest in the project for spending $A30 million on the exploration of the tenement.
A minimum of $4 million must be spent within the first two years.
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 unchanged at 27.5c this morning.