Narrabri Coal this month was awarded an exploration licence for an area 20 kilometres south of Narrabri.
The company will conduct drilling activities over the area for the next two years. To date very little exploration has been made in the area and reserves are unknown.
If proven feasible, a longwall mine will be established to extract mainly thermal reserves.
Narrabri Coal director Keith Ross, also managing director for sister company Whitehaven Coal Mining, said the company had maintained a presence in the Gunnedah Basin through its Whitehaven open cut.
“We are the only coal company still operating in the Gunnedah Basin and we believe that area has significant reserves. As reserves are depleted further down the valley, reserves in the Gunnedah will become more important,” said Ross.
He conceded the location was handicapped by distance from port but said this could be offset by cost effective mining and the high yield and quality coals.
Whitehaven open cut, 30 kilometres north-west of Gunnedah, has been operational since May 2001. The mine produces 700,000 tonnes per annum and exports thermal coal through Newcastle.
AMCI Holdings (American Metals & Coal International) is a private US company that produces and markets coal and which is led by former MIM coal executive Brian MacDonald.