MetroCoal hits longwall project milestones

METROCOAL is seeking federal environmental approval to build two longwall mines southwest of the town of Wandoan in Queensland’s Surat Basin.
MetroCoal hits longwall project milestones MetroCoal hits longwall project milestones MetroCoal hits longwall project milestones MetroCoal hits longwall project milestones MetroCoal hits longwall project milestones

Eddie Obeid

Blair Price

The Bundi and Norwood longwall projects are targeting a combined 13 million tonnes per annum of thermal coal for up to 30 years.

Detailed in MetroCoal’s environmental applications to the federal government yesterday, the Bundi longwall project is located about 20 kilometres southwest of Wandoan while the Norwood longwall project is a further 10km southwest.

The Bundi project will be the first cab off the rank with building work expected to start in 2014, and first production targeting 2015 after 12-18 months of construction and development.

A coal handling processing plant designed for 6.5Mtpa of capacity is planned for this project, but MetroCoal signalled that it could be upgraded to handle higher volumes.

This is important, as the nearby Norwood project aims to connect up to this CHPP either through haul roads or conveyors.

Targeting the Juandah Coal Measures, the Bundi project is based on longwall mining but “small” open cut operations may initially take place to allow access to the underground resources.

Product coal from the proposed mine is expected to be hauled by trucks to the planned rail loadout facility of New Hope’s Elimatta project (previously owned by Northern Energy).

From this point the coal is expected to be railed to Wiggins Island for export. MetroCoal has applied for a 12Mtpa port allocation from the second stage expansion of the planned Wiggins Island Export Coal Terminal.

On the basis that the Elimatta rail loadout facility does not go ahead, MetroCoal said it would file a separate referral to the federal government over alternative options to connect to Surat Basin Rail.

Power to the Bundi mine is expected to come from the grid via a planned line from Columboola to a QGC site at Woleebee, due for completion by around mid-2014.

There are “one or more” options under consideration for water supply, while the Bundi project will also require typical infrastructure such as access roads, run of mine and product coal stockpiles, administration buildings and waste dumps.

The anticipated mine life is 25-30 years, but there could be opportunities to extend the mine life through ongoing exploration.

MetroCoal’s Norwood longwall project is also targeting 6.5Mtpa of thermal coal with the same expectations for its mine life.

This project also has several options for water supply and similar plans to the Bundi project for electricity supply and for railing the coal for export.

This planned mine is targeting construction in 2015 with first production expected in 2017 – two years after the Bundi mine is slated to start its output.

A lot more feasibility work for both projects is planned and the federal environmental applications were made to meet the requirements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

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