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South32 says it remains on track to make a final investment decision on the Eagle Downs metallurgical coal project by the end of 2020.

In its quarterly report, the company reported that it had completed coal quality drilling at Eagle Downs, 25km south-east of Moranbah.

Those results will be used to support the ongoing feasibility study.

Subject to the outcome of the feasibility study, South32 plans to construct an underground longwall mine, coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP) and associated infrastructure.

Potential subcontractors and suppliers are encouraged to register their interest via the ICN Gateway website in order to be considered. 

A general EOI is open, with the project expected to detail work package-specific EOIs after the final investment decision. 

South32 acquired a 50 per cent stake in the project in 2018 and assumed operatorship.

The other 50 per cent is held by Aquila Resources, a subsidiary of China’s largest steel producer, BaoWu.

Aquila had started construction of the Eagle Downs mine before it was placed under care and maintenance in late 2015.

South32 noted when it bought into the project that it had benefitted from initial investment that delivered site infrastructure including water supply and high voltage systems, office buildings and water and
sediment dams.

Dual 2km drifts were also approximately 40 per cent complete.

Prior work undertaken by Aquila indicated that Eagle Downs has the potential to export 4.5Mtpa of coal (on average) from one longwall over the first 10 years of full production.