The July feasibility study results were based on a 4Mtpa run-of-mine operation for a mine life of 25 years, with exports going through the proposed Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal in Gladstone.
But a detailed review under the definitive feasibility study uncovered a better strategy for Aquila.
The Washpool project will aim for 7Mtpa ROM for a mine life of 15 years under the expanded scope.
This decision was made as Aquila’s board is confident the planned infrastructure can match this higher rate of production.
Aquila has already secured a 1.6Mtpa allotment under the stage one development of WICET but is in talks to contract more port and rail allocations.
Total resources of the project are 185.5Mt, including 108.8Mt as measured, 23.9Mt indicated and 52.7Mt inferred.
Proved ROM coal reserves are 94.74Mt while probable ROM coal reserves are 13.52Mt.
But both reserves and resources are expected to be upgraded during the June quarter of 2011 on the back of drilling to support the definitive feasibility study.
Aquila added there was more exploration potential in the balance of the Washpool and Mt Crocker exploration licences surrounding the project area.
The project is about 24km northwest of Blackwater and sits between Wesfarmer’s Curragh mine and Ensham Resources’ namesake mine.
The definitive feasibility study is due to be released in the September quarter of 2011, while construction is scheduled for 2012 and first coal is expected in early 2013.
Aquila shares closed up 3.8% to $9.73 yesterday.