Cost savings as Dartbrook speeds to restart

Terms have been agreed to re-commission the Dartbrook coal mine, and it involves an alliance between three of its many suitors.

Australian Pacific Coal is working with strategic partners M Resources and Tetra to fast-track the restart of the Dartbrook coal mine, aiming for an immediate 1.5 million tonne-a-year target and a nameplate capacity of 6mt a year.

The team continues to collaborate with financiers, potential offtake partners and operational personnel t establish Dartbrook as the next prominent producing mine in the Hunter Region of New South Wales.

Tetra has advised that the pre-production phase is likely to take seven to nine months to complete.

Critical paths to restart include:
• Hunter tunnel dewatering and restoration
• Procurement of conveyance structure for the Hunter tunnel
• Procurement of mining equipment/resources
• CHPP restoration and noise attenuation

M Resources continues to advance the financing requirements for the restart program, advising it has a number of potential financiers who are actively reviewing the Dartbrook restart capital requirement. Funding is being procured on an accelerated timetable to meet the restart timeline.

Debt funding is expected to be procured before Christmas. In the interim, Australian Pacific Coal is providing ad-hoc funding to expedite the mining restart timeframe.

Representatives of the proposed joint venture have estimated that the restart capex for the project will be in the range of $100m-120m. The capital will focus on critical path items to ensure Dartbrook is returned to operations at a steady state of 1.5mt in the Kayuga seam.

The company will also lease equipment rather than buy new underground mining equipment, reducing the overall cost by about $80m while accelerating the timetable, given new equipment lead times are greater than 18 months.

Another area of saving is related to the CHPP and associated infrastructure, where it is intended to focus on repairs and replacements to circuits that will restart the plant to support the initial production levels, without overhauling the CHPP to nameplate capacity.

Editor of industrial titles and mastheads with Prime Creative Media. Publications include Rail Express and Australian Mining (web content).
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