There is no association between GRL and well-known player Gloucester Coal but the Rocky Hill project is located in the Gloucester Basin and is between 3.5km and 7km southeast of the Gloucester urban area.
Detailed in its federal environmental application, which was made publicly available yesterday, GRL aims to start construction in the first quarter of 2013.
Spanning a total area of 939 hectares in exploration licence 6523, the project is based on the development of four separate or contiguous open cuts along with one sub-pit.
It requires a coal handling and preparation plant, a relatively short overland conveyor and a rail load-out facility capable of 1500 tonnes per hour.
A rail loop off the North Coast railway line is also needed and GRL expects to use trains that can haul 5400t of coal.
Mining is targeting seven main coal seams with the Bowen Road seam averaging about 9.2m in the project area while the Cloverdale seam averages 7.8m.
The proposed pit depths vary from 60m to 180m for the main pit and the project aims to produce a low-sulphur, semi-hard coking coal along with an export marketable thermal coal.
Underground mining has been ruled out.
“Given the steeply dipping nature and multiple coal seams within the mine area, open cut methods were determined to be the only feasible means of extracting the identified resource,” consultants on behalf of GRL said in the project referral.
“Underground mining of multiple steeply dipping seams is not currently, nor is likely to be, technically feasible in the foreseeable future.”
Information on the coal reserves or resources of the project did not appear to be provided.
The federal application was made to meet the requirements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Ownership of GRL
A spokesperson for Brisbane-based GRL revealed to ILN that Chain Valley mine operator LD Operations and notable private coal player AMCI were key GRL shareholders.
Other shareholders include Creek Exploration, The Ross Family Trust and SSP Resources Gloucester.
“In early 2010, negotiations took place that resulted in a new ownership for GRL and subsequently a new management team was assembled,” the spokesperson said.
“Heading up the Rocky Hill coal project is GRL chief operating officer Grant Polwarth.”