Work starts at Escarpment coal mine

Activities have started at Bathurst Resources' New Zealand Escarpment coal mine.

The news is a major win for Bathurst, after it announced earlier this year it would be putting the operation on an indefinite delay.

As coal fell to a nine year low Bathurst halted operations at the site, making 30 people redundant in the process.

It came after fierce opposition from environmental activists over the past two year, which delayed environmental approvals for the site until October last year.

Following the dip in February the miner soon came back on slightly stronger coal prices, and received full approvals for mining last month.

However the miner noted at the time that it will hold off from ramping up in to full production, and will merely be in readiness to move into full mining operations once global coking coal prices recover.

In the mean time it has focused on earthworks and site clearing.

"A small team of workers is now engaged full time on site," Bathurst announced today.

"Fences and signage have been erected and current activities are clearing areas for coal storage and site infrastructure and initial earthworks for the installation of water management systems.

"Over the coming months Bathurst will carry out further preliminary site works at Escarpment but will defer the full development of the mine until international coking coal prices improve," it stated.

"Coal recovered during this construction phase will be sold into existing contracts."

Bathurst MD Hamish Bohannan added that Bathurst's "initial activities will low key during this first phase of development; the intention is to prepare the site to a point where we can quickly ramp up to steady state mining when the price of export coking coal recovers".

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