Aquila projects show longwall promise

THREE longwalls producing 11-12 million tonnes per annum and a multi-seam longwall mine are a possibility for Aquila Resources, the company recently revealed at the BMO Capital Markets Global Resources Conference in Florida, USA.
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Coal loading at Aquila Resources' Isaac Plains coal mine.

Angie Tomlinson

Together with Brazil’s largest mining company, Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), Aquila is currently progressing the Belvedere Coal Underground Project in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

IMC Consulting has produced a conceptual mine plan for Aquila which incorporates three longwalls producing 11-12Mtpa of hard coking coal from the 2.7 billion tonne JORC-compliant resource.

Currently CVRD is nearing completion of a $US13 million exploration study of Belvedere and has up to July 19 this year to exercise an option to acquire 51% of the project for $US90 million.

CVRD also has the option to acquire the balance of the project at fair market value.

Exploration work already done at Belvedere shows low volatile hard coking coal, low sulfur and ash with yields of 80-90%.

The commencement of a bankable feasibility study will begin the second half of this year with project commitment by 2010.

At the Peak Downs East Underground Project, in which Aquila has a 50% interest, the company will target the Harrow Creek Upper and Lower seams – the same as those currently mined by the Peak Downs Mine.

Under a $US4 million budget, Aquila’s exploration program includes nine core holes for coal quality, two partial core holes for gas testing and 20km of 2D seismic.

The company said the project had a “large resource potential” and the makings of a multi-seam longwall mine.

Aquila expects to complete an initial resource statement during the first quarter of 2007, complete a concept study in the second half of 2007 and commence its bankable feasibility study in the second half of the year also.

At Aquila’s first coal mine development – Isaac Plains – the company began shipping coal in November 2006.

A feasibility study into the Isaac Plains South area is almost near completion. Aquila expects that production will ramp up to 3.6Mt ROM over the next two years as Isaac Plains South is developed and Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal is expanded.

Isaac Plains has a current opencut mine life of 15-plus years at 3.6Mtpa ROM coal.

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