A planned coal mine is expected to yield 10 times more than initially expected.
A planned coal mine is expected to yield 10 times more than initially expected.

Coal mine strikes it rich for jobs

A COAL mine planned for Aldershot is now expected to yield more than 10 times as much as originally anticipated.

The “inferred resource” of hard coking coal at the site near Maryborough jumped from five million tonnes to 57.4 million tonnes after modelling results from an extensive drilling program were completed.

More upgrades on the resource underpinning the proposed mine are expected when further laboratory results are confirmed.

The managing director of Northern Energy Corporation, the Brisbane coal exploration company involved, believes the Maryborough project has evolved into “a real company maker”.

Keith Barker confirmed the potential for further employment creation at the site longer term.

The Colton project is expected to create about 100 jobs directly, if the Queensland Government grants an application for two mining leases lodged with the Department of Mining and Energy last month.

Further applications would be needed to extend the scope of the project, Mr Barker said.

“The Colton mine is planned to produce 500,000 tonnes of coal per annum and offers the opportunity for relatively early production in mid-2011 subject to statutory approvals and final project design and evaluation,” Mr Barker said.

“The short answer is that the increase in the resource means there is a possibility of more jobs, but not immediately.”

A long-term plan for the project is not expected to take shape for 12 months.

“It is not a large resource by central Queensland standards. But it is significant. It’s good quality coal and it’s significant to this region and to Northern Energy.

“I don’t want to raise expectations. We will look to progress the application with the government and in consultation with the local community.

More than 100 holes were drilled during the most recent three-month program, totalling about 12,700m. The 57.4 million tonne estimate was made to depths of less than 100m below surface.

An exploration target of an additional 25 to 35 million tonnes has also been identified at depths between 100m and 150m.

“There remains additional exploration potential within this depth range in areas yet to be drilled, so the Maryborough project has now evolved into a real company maker for us.

“We are committed to developing this project in consultation with the local community and look forward to strengthening ties in the area over the coming weeks and months as we further develop our understanding of the deposit.

“This substantial increase in resources provides scope for further growth in the scale of operations of Maryborough and exploration and evaluation of the options for the longer term development of the entire project area are ongoing.”



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