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Isaac Plains to restart coal production in 1H16

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World Coal,

Australian coal company, Stanmore Coal, has announced it is to restart operations at Isaac Plains in 1H16 after it acquired the shuttered metallurgical coal mine from Vale and Sumitomo Corp. in August.

“Challenging commodity markets have presented an exceptional opportunity for Stanmore and in early 2016 we will become and independent producer of high-quality coking coal for export to the steel industry,” said Stanmore’s Managing Director, Nick Jorss.

The company said that the recommencement of mining at Isaac Plains would create about 150 new jobs in the Moranbah region of Queensland, as well as paying AUS$7 million in annual royalties to the state government. First coal is expected to be shipped in April 2016.

Stamore has appointed Golding Contractors to undertake contract mining at the site with responsibility for all site activities from blasting to train load-out operations. The operation of the coal handling and preparation plant will be managed by an experienced subcontractor under Golding.

Golding has significant experience in the Queensland coal mining sector including operating the Kogan Creek coal mining for CS Energy and removing mine overburden at Wesfarmers Curragh mine, as well as various contracts for BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Gregory, Blackwater and Ensham coal mines.

The contract with Golding will run for three years, producing 3.3 million t of saleable coal over the contract period. Operating costs at the mine will place Isaac Plains in the second quartile of a margin-adjusted global metallurgical coal cost curve, according to Stanmore’s analysis, after the company pushed down FOB unit costs by 35% by focusing on dragline-based production in the northern pits where strip ratios are lower.

“The acquisition of Isaac Plains for a nominal sum gives us a fully-equipped coking coal mine with three years of mine life at current prices,” said Neville Sneddon, Chairman at Stanmore Coal. “Combining this with out adjacent Isaac Plains deposit has created a low-cost, long-term coking coal mine, utilising the existing Isaac Plains infrastructure without the need for any material capital expenditure.”

The Stanmore Coal announcement was welcomed by the Queensland Resources Council’s CEO Michael Roche.

“Stanmore’s awarding of a mining contract to Golding Contractors Pty Ltd and the decision to resume production of coking coal at Isaac Plains in early 2016 is welcome news,” Roche said in a statement. “Stanmore’s approach and ability to produce high quality coking coal for export at the bottom of the market proves there are still opportunities that exist for the coal industry despite changing and challenging conditions.”

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