Aquila said the Queensland department of Natural Resources and Mines had issued a mining lease for the Isaac Plans project. The project is a 50-50 joint venture between Perth-based Aquila and AMCI Holdings Australia.
Upon receiving the lease, Aquila and AMCI signed key contracts with Roche and with SunWater for the supply of water for the preparation facility.
The preparation plant will be operating at one million tonnes per annum from mid-2006, increasing to 2Mtpa.
Aquila said there was sufficient design capacity at the plant to treat a further 1.6Mtpa from the Isaac Plains South Coal project.
During October, Aquila announced it had tripled resource estimates at Isaac Plains to a JORC compliant 135.3 million tonnes. The 2Mtpa opencut mine operation will produce both coking and PCI/thermal coal.