Aquila sticks with coal aspirations

AQUILA Resources was able to maintain steady coal sales from its working Isaac Plains operation during the June quarter, while making headway with plans to develop its Bowen Basin longwall projects.
Aquila sticks with coal aspirations Aquila sticks with coal aspirations Aquila sticks with coal aspirations Aquila sticks with coal aspirations Aquila sticks with coal aspirations

Courtesy Aquila Resources.

Angie Tomlinson

The Isaac Plains open cut mine near Moranbah in Queensland’s Bowen Basin produced 883,000 run-of-mine tonnes for the quarter and sold 297,156t.

While sales were down only slightly on the previous quarter, they had slipped from sales a year ago with pulverised coal injection coal no longer in the mix.

“The decreased demand for PCI coal, which was associated with the global financial crisis, resulted in no PCI sales this quarter,” Aquila said.

“Volume was still achieved through semi-hard coking coal and thermal sales, while a strengthening in the PCI market has seen forward sales of PCI for the balance of this calendar year.”

Aquila was able to make strong sales through April and May but delays at Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal during June meant its shipments for that month were pushed into July.

During the quarter, the company negotiated three of five outstanding carryover tonnage contracts and talks are continuing over the remaining two.

Forward sales have been contracted for all mine production for the remainder of the 2009 calendar year.

At Aquila’s prospective 7 million tonnes per annum hard coking coal longwall mine, Eagle Downs, exploration was completed and a feasibility study is expected to be released next quarter.

The report will contain surface and infrastructure design by Sinclair Knight Merz; coal processing plant design by Ausenco; a revised resource statement and estimation of mine reserves, mine design and scheduling reports by International Mining Consultants, Sigra and Runge; and mining technical reports by Simtars, GeoGas and Roy Moreby.

Eagle Downs is expected to start development in 2012 with first longwall production in 2014.

At the prospective 9Mtpa Belvedere longwall project, work has continued on the prefeasibility program due out in the first quarter of 2010.

Exploration has continued with up to five drill rigs onsite and two additional mining lease applications for the project submitted.

In December, international miner Vale will have its purchase options kick in to acquire Aquila’s share of the Belvedere project.

At the 1.6Mtpa open cut Washpool project, a conceptual study has been released identifying a resource of 138Mt of hard coking coal, a mine life of 18 years and no project fatal flaws.

Aquila has also released a revised resource at its Red Hill coal project of 83.4Mt with a further potential resource of 72.5Mt identified.

In other coal news, Aquila has appointed Rod Doyle as its coal exploration manager. Doyle was formerly the principal geotechnical engineer for BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal.

Aquila was trading down 1.7% mid-morning today at $A6.18.

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