Rio Tinto upgrades Kestrel coal mine

The Kestrel mine. Image: Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto has increased its coal reserves at the Kestrel underground coal mine in the Bowen Basin in Queensland by almost 50 per cent.

The mining giant last week added 62 million tonnes (Mt) to its Kestrel ore reserves, increasing its 2016 estimate of 123Mt to 185Mt.

With the upgrade, Kestrel’s mineral resources – exclusive of ore reserves – have decreased by 65Mt, from 306Mt to 241Mt.

The increase in ore reserves reflects a continuation of work on Rio’s Australian coal deposits that was announced in March last year, according to the company.

“The updates are based on a rigorous examination of leases that included an updated geological model, updated mine layout, revised coal product classifications and revised loss and dilution and productivity assumptions,” the company said.

Rio’s interest in the Kestrel operations, around 40km from Emerald in central Queensland, is 80 per cent, with Mitsui owning the remaining 20 per cent interest.

Kestrel uses the longwall and continuous miner method to mine high quality coking and thermal coal for export.