Sources of revenue for the quarter included the operating profit from the Cascade mine and a one-off payment for a 10% share in the Broughton project. Expenditure in the second half of the year was higher than that of the first half due to the exploration drilling at Whareatea West, the due diligence drilling program in the Ohai region and the Broughton Stage 2 feasibility study.
Eastern is continuing its strategy of development and acquisition of coal projects within Australia and New Zealand. The company said it has several projects under consideration, in addition to developing its exploration permit at Whareatea West and its prospecting permits in the southern area of the South Island.
A 10-hole exploration drilling program was completed at Whareatea West in June. Preliminary results were encouraging but a full analysis will determine whether a feasibility study on developing the prospect as an export coking coal mine will be undertaken.
During the June quarter, Cascade Coal Mine on New Zealand’s South Island performed to expectations, with management looking to improve efficiencies and optimise offtake arrangements. A new crushing and screening plant is being installed at the mine and export opportunities are being re-evaluated in light of increasing domestic demand. Sales into the domestic industrial markets have increased, underpinned by the extreme climatic conditions experienced in the South Island during the winter months.
Eastern subsidiary Rochfort Coal Mining has entered into a contract for the purchase of a second New Zealand coal mine in the Ohai/ Nightcaps area in the far south of the South Island from Straith Industries. The mining tenements in the proposed purchase have been the subject of coal mining activities for many years and are seen as an ideal component of Eastern’s overall coal mine development strategy in New Zealand.
The current feasibility study of the Broughton Coal Joint Venture, west of Mackay in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, is evaluating the most suitable method of mineral processing, with detailed mine plans and project development strategies also being prepared.