Coal Age

JUN 2019

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Page 35 of 51

34 June 2019 regional report: australia continued Resources as the fourth-largest met coal producer by volume. After a suc- cessful IPO in October, the company is now listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. In February, Coronado booked an additional 82 million mt of reserves at Curragh after acquiring the Stanwell Reserves. The Curragh complex, located in the Bowen Basin, produces a vari- ety of high-quality, low-ash met coal products. It also produces thermal coal, which is sold domestically un- der a long-term contract to Stanwell, a government-owned entity that op- erates the Stanwell power station. The Curragh Complex was the fifth-largest coal operation in Queens- land. The open-cast bituminous coal mine, which has been operating since 1983, consists of two processing areas, Curragh North and Curragh East. Min- ing is carried out at Curragh using a mix of dragline and truck/shovel. New Production and Future Projects The Byerwen and Blair Athol mines posted new production in FY2018. QCoal Group, a company that bills it- self as Australia's leading independent coal exploration and mining company, opened the Byerwen mine. Located 20 km west of Glenden, Byerwen has the potential to produce 10 million mtpy. The met product is exported through the Abbot Point coal terminal. Leases for the operation were granted in May 2017, and last year the mine moved 30 million bank cubic meters and pro- duced 1.7 million mt of met coal. Cur- rent activity is focused in the northern pit with potential expansion options in the future. QCoal also owns the Sonoma and Drake mines. Blair Athol is one of Queenland's oldest mines. Rio Tinto Coal Australia closed the mine in August 2012. During 2017, TerraCom Ltd. acquired the Blair Athol coal mine from the Queensland government for A$1 along with recla- mation responsibilities. The company moved quickly to refurbish the plant and remobilize equipment. Produc- tion commenced in 2017 and they posted production of 1.1 million mt in FY2018. TerraCom plans to rehabilitate more than 50 hectares while bringing the mine back into production. The company expects to produce 2 million mtpy during the next seven years. In March 2019, the Queensland De- partment of Environment and Science (DES) granted the application to amend the Environmental Authority (EA) for the New Acland's Stage 3 Project. The EA included a significant number of stringent environmental conditions and was granted following the coordi- nator general approving amendments to noise limit conditions, thereby satis- fying all preconditions set by the Land Court. The project now needs to secure mining leases and an associated water license from the Queensland govern- ment before it can proceed. New Hope said it remains com- mitted to delivering the New Acland Stage 3 Project and will actively work with the relevant government de- partments to progress through these steps. Obtaining final approval as soon as possible this year is critical to ensuring the continuity of operations at the New Acland mine. New Acland's Stage 3 is expected to generate $7 bil- lion in economic activity over the ex- pected 14-year life of the project. Two proposed coal mining op- erations in Queensland, the Carmi- chael mines (see News, p. 5) and Olive Downs, have drawn much attention lately along with a heated discussion about royalty rates. "The approval of projects like Ol- ive Downs provides the opportunity for more jobs, more exports and more royalties for Queenslanders," he said. "Increasing royalty rates increases uncertainty. Uncertainty undermines confidence, undermines jobs, under- mines exports and undermines future royalty payments." For now, the discussion was set- tled by asking miners in Queensland to voluntarily fund the development of infrastructure in communities. In exchange, the ruling LNP government has promised to freeze royalty rates on coal until October 2024, accord- ing to the QRC. Queensland will in- vest $30 million in a fund to improve economic and social infrastructure across resource communities. QRC is asking its members to contribute an additional $70 million to the fund over three years. The 50 mines in Queensland are located close to the coast with an infrastructure that supports exports.

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