Emerging coal miner NuCoal Resources (ASX: NCR) is preparing for another big year in 2012 as it forges ahead with exploring its flagship Doyles Creek underground mine project in NSW.
Doyles Creek is strategically located in the heart of “coal country” in the Upper Hunter which is home to 35 existing coals mines, 14 producers and 27 loading points. Since listing on the ASX in February 2010, NuCoal Resources has spent over $20 million on exploration at Doyles Creek which has to date confirmed a JORC assessed resource of 525 million tonnes of semi soft and high quality thermal coal in five seams.
“This is a fantastic outcome for the project and for NuCoal investors,” says NuCoal’s Managing Director, Glen Lewis.
“We have now explored the Doyles Creek tenement to the point where we believe a modern underground mine can be established with an initial life of at least 24 years of longwall production producing an average of five million tonnes a year. Longer term, we expect the mine will produce for around 40 years.
“On December 14, 2011 we upgraded our JORC Resource Statement from 504 Mt to 525 Mt, with 9.3Mt reported in the measured category, and 119.8 Mt in the Indicated category.
“Our measured and Indicated Resources at Doyles Creek have increased by 84% on the July, 2011 resource base to 129Mt, with a good spread of resources across the five mineable coal seams.
“Based on these results, in due course we will be applying for planning approval and ultimately a mining lease from the NSW Government.”
NuCoal is also developing its 100% owned Dellworth project which comprises two exploration leases (Dellworth and Savoy Hill) strategically located north of the Doyles Creek tenement.
Drilling is well underway on the Savoy Hill tenement which is located next to Bayswater power station. Dellworth is a strategic acquisition which dovetails with NuCoal’s plan to become a multi-mine coal producer in NSW.
The upgraded JORC statement capped off a big year of achievement for NuCoal. In February the company completed a successful $30 million placement of new shares. In September it achieved 100% compliance in a rigorous State Government audit of its exploration license, and it also purchased Hunter River water licenses totalling 372 mega litres. And in November it secured initial port access for Doyles Creek at Port Waratah from 2015.
In tandem with exploration activities, NuCoal is also taking a leading position in addressing the ongoing skills shortages in the black coal industry by establishing Australia’s first underground mine training school at Doyles Creek.
The school will be a dedicated, stand-alone facility with its own panel designed to train the underground mine workers of tomorrow.
“As someone who has spent 32 years in the coal industry, I am very concerned about the impact that skills shortages will have on our industry in the near term,” says Glen Lewis.
“When you consider that the average age of workers in the underground black coal industry is over 45 years, it is clear this will become a big problem if it is not addressed.
“At NuCoal we believe the Doyles Creek Underground Mine Training School has a key role to play in responding to the future skills needs of the underground coal mining Industry in NSW, and assisting the industry with providing high quality training for real jobs.”
The school will off er training programmes through organisations and groups supporting careers in the mining industry, as well as programmes in a number of non-mining areas. Training in mine safety will be a key priority for the school.
The training school is also drawing on the expertise and capabilities of the University of Newcastle, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and the Hunter Valley Training Company who are partners. During 2011 NuCoal appointed a senior NSW educator, Maree Roberts, as the inaugural Director of the training school.
“The ultimate outcome is for a world class training facility that meets the training and professional development needs of all workers in the underground coal mining industry,” said Lewis.
“Our immediate goal is for qualifications up to Certificate level 4 in accordance with RII09 Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package.
“The on-site training provided at Doyles Creek Underground Mine Training School will be a unique educational experience by providing attendees with both theoretical and practical mining experience in an operational mine.”
The school will include training rooms, R and D facilities and workshops. No other project currently exists in Australia where the actual training facility is situated within an operating coal mine.