Since being granted the mining lease in December, construction of infrastructure has started at the Isaac Plains project, a 50:50 joint venture with AMCI Holdings Australia. ROM stockpiles have been built and access road and rail construction has begun.
The reserve estimate for the mine, near Moranbah in Queensland's Bowen Basin, is currently 20 million tonnes, with a 2Mtpa opencut mine planned with a mine life of 10 years. The company said it was developing a conceptual dragline mine plan that could be expected to increase the reserves. During October, Aquila announced it had tripled resource estimates at Isaac Plains to a JORC compliant 135.3Mt.
At its 50% owned Belvedere underground project, joint venture partner Companhia Vale do Rio Doce – major iron producer and Brazil’s largest mining company – has started a $15 million exploration program. Some 60,000m of diamond drilling and seismic surveys are underway at the project, which has an estimated 2.7 billion tonne hard coking coal resource.
CVRD may exercise an option to acquire half of Aquila’s interest in the project for $US45 million at the end of the study.
A new phase of exploration drilling started at the company’s 50% owned Peak Downs East underground project, south of the Isaac Plains projects.
Aquila said the full sequence of the 6-8 seams forming the Moranbah Coal Measures has been intersected by drilling. The Harrow Creek (Lower) seam, the principal target, has been intersected in four holes and has an average thickness of 8m. A resource statement is expected by year-end.
At the company’s wholly owned Mozambique project geological mapping and drilling has been conducted, which demonstrated continuity of the Chipanga Seam coal horizon over a large area. Coal quality results are awaited.