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Stanmore Coal says its new Isaac Downs open-cut mine remains on track for development in the second half of this year, as it moves through the approvals process.

The $85 million Isaac Downs mining project near Moranbah is expected to create 250 jobs in construction.

The operation would also provide ongoing long-term employment for workers at the company’s existing Isaac Plains mining complex, with 220 workers transferred to the new mine, in addition to about 80 new roles.

In its quarterly report this week, Stanmore said the State Government had notified it that the EIS Assessment Report stage for Isaac Downs had commenced and would be completed by early March, enabling the project to move through the final stages of the approval process.

A bankable feasibility study was finalised late last year, confirming that attractive metallurgical coal for steel making would be produced from Isaac Downs.

It concluded the project was an attractive investment proposition,with an all-in capital cost of $85.2 million generating an NPV of $215 million and internal rate of return of 139 per cent.

It would be developed as a satellite operation for the Isaac Plains Complex, producing 2.5Mtpa (saleable) of primarily coking coal.

During the past quarter, Stanmore said it had made the decision to invest in further exploration at Isaac Downs to undertake a bulk sample for testing of proposed product coal cargos with key international customers.

“Once mining approvals are finalised (estimated mid-2021) the project can commence operations rapidly,” the company said.

The company has also started preliminary work at an extension project for its current Isaac Plains East mine after receiving Federal Environmental approvals last month.

This involves the expansion of the Isaac Plains East open cut pits to the east, which is expected to extend the mining schedule by about four years.

Stanmore Coal mined 850,000 tonnes in the December 2020 quarter and produced 582,000 tonnes saleable coal.

The company expects coal mining production to be lower at Isaac Plains East in the upcoming March quarter relative to previous quarters.

This is the result of reduced fleet capacity to focus on lowering costs and
strip ratios, and to also manage the mine plan transition to Isaac Downs.