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Exploration venture for Stanmore and Japan

World Coal,

Stanmore Coal Limited has signed a joint venture agreement with the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) to undertake an extensive exploration programme in the Surat Basin, Queensland.

Under the terms of the agreement, announced on the 20th December 2013, JOGMEC will provide up to AU$ 4.5 million of exploration expenditure to Stanmore over a three year period for the Clifford Thermal Coal Project. JOGMEC will earn up to a 40% economic interest in the Clifford project and has the right to assign that interest to a Japanese nominee company in the future, in order to progress the project to development.

Stanmore is the first Queensland-based company to benefit from the recent Japanese interest in Queensland resources since JOGMEC and the government of Queensland signed a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the end of September last year. The MoU outlines a framework for cooperation on natural resources exploration and development in Queensland including coal, gas and other mineral resources.

The Clifford project is a 1161 km2 area within Queensland’s Surat Basin, an extensive area featuring high energy, low emission thermal coal which is well suited for electricity generation in Asia. Surat Basin thermal coals typically feature excellent environmental performance, with low emissions of NO2, SOx particulates and CO2.

Through the joint exploration initiative with Stanmore Coal, JOGMEC will establish rights to an ownership interest in the Surat Basin, through which it will have a greater role in the development of a new, long term source of high quality thermal coal suitable for Japanese electricity generators.

The agreement provides Stanmore with funding for all of the planned exploration expenditure over three years including drilling, coal quality analysis and feasibility studies within the Clifford project area. Funding will also allow Stanmore Coal to build a comprehensive geological model of the area using historical data within and immediately surrounding the area.

Pre-drilling activities under the exploration agreement have commenced, and the first holes are expected to be drilled in this quarter.

Stanmore Coal’s managing director, Nick Jorss, commented: ““Queensland’s Surat Basin presents Japanese investors and electricity generators with a compelling and timely opportunity to build on the historically strong relationships between Japan and Australia by securing long term off-take from a coal basin containing a large amount of high energy, low emission thermal coal.”

“We are very pleased to announce this partnership with JOGMEC today and we look forward to working with them to explore this prospective area and increase our strategic footprint in the Surat Basin, a major source of future thermal coal. We believe the excellent operational and environmental features of Surat Basin coal will become increasingly sought after, particularly in Asia as the recent coal market oversupply moderates. The path to market for Northern Surat Basin coal is well understood and well supported, as demonstrated by this important commitment by JOGMEC,” Jorss concluded.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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