New Hope could present Surat coal project next year
UPDATE: A series of projects to extract more than a billion tonnes of thermal coal from the Surat Basin could be presented to the State Government by as early as next year.
New Hope Group's North Surat coal project, which is made up of several smaller developments purchased over the past seven years, is currently in the pre-feasibility stage.
The news comes as rival mining company Glencore waits on approval of a mining lease for its own project near Wandoan, which would create more than 2000 jobs during construction and operation.
New Hope CEO Shane Stephen said the development of the project was in line with expected demand for thermal coal in Asia by 2023, thanks to new coal plants in countries like Vietnam and Korea.
"The market will demand this sort of coal by 2023 or 2024," he said.
"That's what we're targeting, so we've got to get through feasibility studies, environmental impact assessments and obtain mining leases.
"They actually happen concurrently - you need the mining lease, the environmental authority and the associated water licence."
Construction could be fast-tracked on the Glencore project if it gets its mining lease, but Mr Stephen said it would have no impact on New Hope's chances when it presents the North Surat development to the Government.
"We'll continue on with our feasibility work this year and we'll look at making some decisions probably next year in relation to whether we should start the EIA process," he said.
"Really the projects are quite independent - Glencore are far more advanced than what we are.
"The assessment of the projects are quite independent and the applications are based on a case-by-case basis.
"It's no good developing a project when the market isn't wanting it."
In other good news for New Hope, the Queensland Government approved its mining lease application for a coking coal mine near Maryborough.
The company made its ASX announcement this morning about Colton Coal Mine.
EARLIER: A multi-national mining company could be reviving plans to build a $6 billion thermal coal project in the Surat Basin.
Glencore looks set to receive its mining lease from the State Government for a project at Wandoan, according to the Courier-Mail.
The project could create 1300 jobs during construction and more than 800 in operation.
At the same time, New Hope Group has advanced a feasibility study into its own projects based on more than a billion tonnes of coal it has in the Surat Basin.
New Hope managing director Shane Stephen said the demand for coal for Asian markets by 2023 would necessitate more projects in western Queensland.
"Coal will be part of the energy solution long into the future,'' he said.
"We believe the market will demand the coal. The older mines in the Hunter Valley are in decline and the market will look seriously at New Hope.''