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Buller Coal Project

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This article is part of the collection of articles on coal projects in New Zealand, which has been developed in conjunction with Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA). See CANA's Twitter feed and Facebook page. For information on how to get involved in adding material to CoalSwarm see here.

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The Buller Coal Project is a conceptual multi-coal mine project being incrementally explored and developed by Bathurst Resources and its subsidiaries Buller Coal Limited and Eastern Resources Limited. The Buller Coal Project is located near Westport on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island.[1] The company has stated that by later this decade it aimes to be producing 4 million tonnes of coal a year from its Buller Coal Project.[2]

The broad Buller Coal Project comprises, as of November 2011, eight possible individual mines on the Denniston Plateau located near Westport. Bathurst Resources divides the possible projects into those in the South Buller area and those in the North Buller. (In between the two area, the publicly owned Solid Energy has extensive leases including the existing Stockton mine.)

Bathurst Resources development plan

Of the different deposits within Bathurst Resources overarching Buller Coal Project the company is most advanced with plans to develop the one million tonne per annum hard coking coal Escarpment mine. The Escarpment mine, which has received government approvals, is currently being challenged in the Environment Court by three environmental groups.

Bathurst Resources have also flagged its intention to commission the Deep Creek mine as a further one million tonne per annum project in 2014 utilising the same processing infrastructure as the Escarpment mine.[3][4] The Deep Creek mine has not yet obtained government approvals.

Bathurst is also planning to commence production from the Coalbrookdale mine, previously known as the Brookdale mine, in early 2013. The company has stated that it aims to initially produce approximately 1-200,000 tons per annum and increase this to 250,000 tonnes per annum from an underground mine. Subsequently, Bathurst Resources are considering the development of Whareatea West coal project or Coalbrookdale open cut mine.[5]

Following the release of updated coal resource estimates for potential elements in its Buller Coal Project, Bathurst Resources stated that over the following year it intended to continue drilling the South Buller projects and begin work on the North Buller projects as a part of its "pre-feasibility program."[6]

South Buller projects and mines

South Buller.jpg

Bathurst Resources projects in the South Buller area include:[2]

  • the Cascade mine, producing up to 100,000 tonnes in 2012. Bathurst Resources states that "on 25th November the first export shipment of Cascade coal left Westport where it will be discharged at Port Taranaki awaiting final bulk shipment to a customer in Asia. The current production rate at Cascade is 100,000 tonnes per annum, of which 50% of this amount is sold domestically with the balance planned for export."[1] A presentation on Bathurst Resources by Helmsec states that the company has a export capacity target of 50-75,000 tonnes per annum. The mine produces semi-soft coking coal.[7]
  • the Coalbrookdale mine, which has existing approvals, the company is aiming to have commencing production in early 2013. The company has stated that it plans to commence with an underground mine initially and subsequently develop an open cut mine on the deposit. The company plans to initially produce 1-200,000 tonnes and then increase to 250,tonnes per annum. In October 2011 the company stated that the deposit contained 4 million tonnes of indicated reserves and 5.7 million tonnes of inferred coal. Insufficient exploration has been undertaken on the deposit for the company to provide an estimate of measured resources.[6]
  • the Escarpment mine, which has received government approvals but is subject to appeals by environmental groups. If it survives the appeals process, the company is hoping to have the mine in production in mid-2013. The company estimates that it contained 4.1 million tonnes of proved coal resource and an additional 0.3 million tonnes of probable resource. The company estimates that the total proved and probable coal which could be sold could be 3.1 million tonnes;[6]
  • the Deep Creek mine, which has been touted as a one million tonne per annum project which could be commissioned in 2014 utilising the same processing infrastructure as the Escarpment mine.[3] The company estimates that it contained 5.8 million tonnes of proved coal resource and an additional 2.7 million tonnes of probable resource. The company estimates that the total proved and probable coal which could be sold could be 7.5 million tonnes;[6]
  • the Whareatea West coal project. The company estimates that it contained 3.5 million tonnes of proved coal resource and an additional 0.5 million tonnes of probable resource. The company estimates that the total proved and probable coal which could be sold could be 2.9 million tonnes;[6]

The company has foreshadowed that after the commencement of production in the South Buller area, it plans to develop its North Buller projects from 2015/2016 onwards. This would require the duplication of a coal washery and other mining infrastructure.

North Buller projects and mines

Bathurst Resources has identified three possible coal projects in what it describes as the North Buller section of its Buller Coal Project. These are the:

  • North Buller coal project. The company estimates that the deposit contains 4.8 million tonnes of indicated coal and a further 9 million tonnes of inferred resource. Exploration is at such an early stage that no estimate is available on the amount of coal that could be sold.[6]
  • Blackburn coal project The company estimates that the deposit contains 10.8 million tonnes of indicated coal. Exploration is at such an early stage that no estimate is available on the amount of coal that could be sold. [6]
  • Millerton North coal project. The company estimates that the deposit contains 4.3 million tonnes of indicated coal. Exploration is at such an early stage that no estimate is available on the amount of coal that could be sold. [6]

Project Details

Owner: Bathurst Resources and subsidiaries
Location: near Westport, West Coast of the South Island
Coordinates: see map
Status: Operating
Production capacity:
Type of coal: Bituminous
Employees:
Customers:

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 Bathurst Resources, "Current Activities", Bathurst Resources website, accessed March 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bathurst Resources, "Presentation to HELSEC Hong Kong Forum", March 2012, page 6 & 8.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bathurst Resources, "Interim DFS results confirm project viability", Media Release, August 18, 2010.
  4. Bathurst Resources, "Initial reserve for Buller Project", Media Release, September 28, 2010.
  5. Bathurst Resources, "2011 Annual General Meeting: Presentation by Managing Director", November 2011, pages 7-8.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Bathurst Resources, "Increased Reserves and Resources at Buller coal Project", Media Release, October 25, 2011.
  7. Bathurst Resources, "Presentation to HELSEC Hong Kong Forum", March 2012, page 6.

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