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Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corporation is putting its money behind the Hillalong coking coal project, about 105km west-southwest of Mackay.

Project owner Bowen Coking Coal says Sumitomo has agreed to farm-in terms relating to the project.

A non-binding term sheet executed between company subsidiaries will allow Sumitomo to earn an initial 10 per cent interest by funding $2.5 million in exploration at Hillalong.

It will cover the Phase 1 exploration programs for the Hillalong North and Hillalong South – two priority open pit targets- within 12 months of commencement of the farm-in.

Sumitomo will be able to earn an additional 10 per cent by providing a further $5 million within 24 months of a Phase 2 work program being approved.

Bowen Coking Coal managing director Gerhard Redelinghuys said Sumitomo broughts a wealth of experience and significant financial backing in the global coal mining, trading and related steel industries to the Hillalong project.

“Sumitomo has a long history in the Australian coking coal industry and we look forward to building the relationship with them to the mutual benefit of both our companies.”

Located in the northern part of the Bowen Basin, the Hillalong project covers about 99sq km and lies about 16km north-west of the Hail Creek mine, owned by the Glencore-Marubeni-Sumitomo joint venture.

Xstract Consulting has estimated an exploration target of between 61 million tonnes and 409 million tonnes from the Rangal and Moranbah coal measures for open pit and underground targets.

Bowen Coking Coal is also advancing the Isaac River project, east of Daunia mine in the Bowen Basin.

It recently increased the resource estimate there by more than 67 per cent to 8.7 million tonnes.

Sumitomo buys into Hillalong coal project

Representatives from three levels of government have unveiled a foundation stone representing the future site of the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme.

The Hughenden Irrigation Project Corporation (HIPCo) is continuing to advance the project after a funding pledge of $180 million from Prime Minister Scott Morrison late last year.

A dam would be built about 15km north of Hughenden in the upper catchment of the Flinders River and is expected to allow for the irrigation of more than 10,000ha of farmland.

KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter was flanked by State counterpart Robbie Katter, Assistant Minister for Roads Scott Buchholz and Sir Leo Hielscher at the Riverside Station event.

Mr Katter praised the HIPCo Board in his speech and said that the irrigation scheme would turn around Hughenden and other western towns.

“This is a board that is made up of businessmen. They are doing the work themselves, they are owner operators and the worker operators as well. They are ordinary blokes doing something to ensure their survival,” he said.

“We will divide this area of 10,000ha up into 100 or so farms for people to graze and fatten cattle year-round and instead of running 7-8 ox to a hectare we run 20-30 to a hectare.

“Process is what bogs these projects down. If you can’t make a decision on a simple matter like a dam at Hughenden then you are not the Government of Australia.  

“I don’t want to assume that the state government is hostile to these projects but if they get in our way then I will kick ‘em to death. “

Sir Leo, who was Treasury Corporation chair for 22 years, flew from Brisbane to attend the event and spoke of its importance to the Queensland region.

“Really I haven’t been out of retirement, I haven’t started that yet. But I have for many, many years had the old Bradfield Scheme modified in my sights. During my career I had a lot of things like that and I seemed to achieve most of them except this one and I see what we have seen today as the model for the big scheme that we are talking about.”

Dam aspirations set in stone at Hughenden
Cook Colliery owner Bounty Mining has signed a $90-million refinancing deal with QCoal.

QCoal and managing director Christopher Wallin hold about 6.54 per cent of Bounty’s shares.

Bounty said the agreement provided for cash funding of $60 million and a guarantee facility for $30 million.

The funds will be used to repay outstanding debts to Amaroo Blackdown Investments and XCoal Energy and Resources, which were due for repayment on September 30.

They will also go towards capital expenditure and working capital at the Cook Colliery and to satisfy certain obligations to Glencore.

Subsidiary Bounty Cook will enter a coal offtake agreement with QCoal once the exitsing arrangement with XCoal Energy and Resources has been finalised.

“Shareholders made their wishes clear at the general meeting on September 30 and the board has worked hard to bring the proposal received from QCoal into a form that would meet the company’s needs,” Bounty chairperson Rob Stewart said.

Bounty suffered a $34.4 million loss in the last financial year and more than $28.8 million the previous year.

The company acquired the assets of Caledon Coal and Blackwater Coal, including Cook Colliery and the Minyango coking coal project, in late 2017 for $31.5 million

It also acquired some assets associated with the Cook Colliery that had remained the property of Glencore subsidiary Cook Resource Mining for a total of $10 million in deferred payments.

The first shipment of hard coking coal from Cook Colliery since its recommissioning under new owners Bounty Mining sailed from the Port of Gladstone in mid-2018.  

Bounty Mining executes refinancing deal with QCoal
Queensland contractor Nimble Resources has been lined up to carry out trial mining at Impact Minerals’ Blackridge gold project, 25km north of Clermont.

The trial will involve up to a million loose cubic metres – about 1.6 million tonnes.

Impact Minerals said the tribute agreement would see Nimble Resources cover set-up, mining, processing and rehabilitation costs at the project.

It said the trial mining phase, if successful, would be major step forward in demonstrating the potential for a larger open-pit mine at Blackridge.

With work underway to finalise a plan of operations to be submitted to the State Government for approval, Impact said mining may commence before the end of the year.

“This agreement is a very positive step forward for the Blackridge project,” Impact Minerals managing director Mike Jones said.

“We know that the best way to determine grade in coarse gold deposits such as Blackridge is to simply start mining. This is inherently very high risk and so this agreement gives Impact a very low-risk entry to mining by trial mining of only a modest part of the mineralised area, which extends over at least 1500m along trend.

“In addition Impact, under the royalty payment provisions will receive at least a modest cash flow from the trial.”

The trial mining agreement follows a successful bulk sampling program carried out in conjunction with Nimble.

Nimble believes that a large portion of the oxide material at Blackridge may potentially be dry processed and in the first instance will trial a proprietary dry processing technology with a throughput capacity of about 90 cubic metres per hour (about 150 tonnes per hour). 

In addition Impact will work with Nimble to determine optimal processing routes for the other two material types in the deposit which are not suitable for dry processing: wet clay-rich material and less oxidised to fresh bedrock.

Contractor to carry out trial mining at Clermont gold site

Senex Energy has achieved first gas production at Project Atlas in the Surat Basin.

The Project Atlas drilling campaign commenced in August 2019 and Senex says 11 wells are complete out of about 60 planned wells.

The first four wells were recently brought online and produced gas immediately.

Senex managing director and chief executive officer Ian Davies described first gas production from Project Atlas as a major achievement.

“Senex was granted the Petroleum Lease for Project Atlas in March 2018. The delivery of a greenfield natural gas development in 18 months is an outstanding achievement,” he said.

“The remainder of 2019 will be active and exciting as we bring more wells online, commission the gas facility and increase production to meet sales agreements commencing January 1 2020,”

Project Atlas includes a 15 petajoule per annum (40 TJ/day) gas processing facility and a 60km buried pipeline to the Wallumbilla Hub.

Jemena has completed construction of the pipeline and is nearing completion of the gas facility.

Natural gas from Project Atlas will supply major Queensland manufacturers including CSR, Orora and O-I.

Senex said it had contracted most of its expected gas production volumes in 2020, with more contracts under negotiation.

First gas flows at Project Atlas

Bowen Basin gas developer Blue Energy has signed a memorandum of understanding that paves the way for it to bring gas to North Queensland industry.

The MOU is with North Queensland Gas Pipeline owner Palisade Investment Partners, whose 391km pipeline system takes gas from the Moranbah Gas Project to Townsville.

The agreement will see both companies market gas from Blue Energy’s Sapphire Block in the northern Bowen Basin and seek use of Moranbah Gas Project processing facilities.

Blue Energy says the MOU will expedite the supply of new domestic gas to North Queensland users seeking a long-term, affordable source for energy or to feed manufacturing.

“The development of new domestic gas supplies to North Queensland will deliver regional economic growth opportunities through new industries such as the Imperium3 Townsville consortium’s proposed $3 billion 18 GWh lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facility in Townsville,” Blue Energy chairman John Ellice -Flint said.

“Imperium3 Townsville recently completed a feasibility study which has been submitted to the Queensland Government.

“With the potential re-opening of Queensland Nickel at Yabulu in Townsville, both projects will require substantial domestic gas supplies.

“Thousands of new jobs in North Queensland depend on reliable and affordable domestic gas supplies over the next 30 years and Blue Energy is determined to play a major role in supplying domestic gas to meet this demand.”

Blue Energy’s Sapphire Block has been assessed to contain almost 216 PJ of 3P reserves and a further 186PJ of contingent resource.

The tenement is located 12km from the existing Moranbah Gas Project gas processing facilities and less than 2km from gasfield gathering infrastructure.

Blue Energy gears up to power Townsville industry