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Another huge coal deposit emerges near Blackall


Another massive coal resource is emerging south of Queensland’s Galilee Basin after market minnow AustChina Holdings announced a massive resource at its Blackall coal project.

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The former Coalbank, headed by Daniel Kin Wah Chan, said more than 800 million tonnes of the 1.3 billion tonne-resource were estimated at less than 50 metres depth.

The Brisbane-based company, which also boasts former senior ALP MP Nick Bolkus on its board, said drilling in 2019 confirmed the shallow and relatively flat-lying nature of the Inverness Deposit and provided the appropriate level of geological certainty to include 30 million tonnes of indicated coal resource.

AustChina exploration permits are for land 145km kilometres south-west of Alpha and 680km west-northwest of Brisbane. It sits south of the most southern Galilee Basin project owned by Clive Palmer’s China First project which remains undeveloped.

Chief operating officer Bruce Patrick said the new data presented no surprises and confirmed the shallow and relatively flat-lying nature of the deposit.

“By introducing new drill holes between the previously drilled holes the necessary level of geological certainty was provided to upgrade a portion of the resource to indicated status”.

The exploration is only in its early stages and AustChina regards Blackall as a medium-term project but said the development of the Galilee Basin would benefit the project. Adani’s project includes a rail line to the coast.

It also warns that development would depend on market demand for thermal coal, however Glencore is moving ahead with its Valeria coal project in central Queensland which it described as a mix of thermal and coking coal.

But it would face significant hurdles in developing the project, including political and social opposition.

“Development of coal infrastructure into the Galilee Basin would improve the prospects of the Blackall project in the future by bringing rail infrastructure further towards the Blackall region,” it said in its annual report.

Adani is currently developing its Carmichael project which is well to the north and there is no indication that any of the other Galilee proponents are anywhere near committing to development. Adani recently opened its airport to the Carmichael project.

AustChina is tightly held with more than 70 per cent of shares owned by three entities. It also has an ownership link with the Utilitas Group which is developing a biohub at Bundaberg.

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