$900m coking coal mine planned
WHILE uncertainty and fear surround the future of the resources industry, one company is moving forward with plans to develop a promising patch of valuable coking coal near Blackwater.
Stanmore Coal recently completed a Concept Mining Study for its Belview coking coal project to the east of the town, and early indications are the company has struck black gold, so to speak.
"We are very excited about it," Stanmore managing director Nick Jorss said.
"One of the seams is at least six metres of good coking coal. Further tests will let us know how hard it is.
"It is a clean seam as well, there doesn't look to be many rocks in there."
Stanmore will continue to develop the proposal over the next financial year, and aim to make a start on the mine feasibility study during the reporting period.
The miner is proposing a 3.4Mtpa three-shaft, single longwall development that would take five years to fully establish from commencement of the shaft sinking.
The project is not cheap, sitting just under an estimated billion dollars.
Mr Jorss confirmed there had been interest in the project's future from some "big international players".
"We will continue to develop this year, drill more holes and start on the prefeasibility study. We are aiming for first production in 2018," he said.
"The Gemini seam has gotten us pretty fired up … coking coal is a fairly scarce resource. The market for it is very strong.
"This project is certainly one of our two priorities going forward (the other being The Range, the company's open-cut project near Wandoan)."
The position of the Belview project is also a positive for the company, being close to associated rail infrastructure and established coal operations.
"The tenement is located 5km from the existing Blackwater line and is one of the closest Bowen Basin coal deposits to the ports of Gladstone," the company recently said in its quarterly report.
Boosting Stanmore's position further is the news it recently brought in a minority funding partner from Hong Kong, which will help fund development going forward.
Mr Jorss would not confirm which international players had shown interest in the Belview project.