Cokal Limited has formed a 50:50 joint venture with Meratus Advance Maritime (MDM), part of the Meratus Group, to own and manage shallow river barges and tugs constructed specifically for the coal project of PT Bumi Barito Mineral (BBM).  1

The agreement culminates two years’ of surveys into river-based shallow draft barging systems, confirming effectiveness for the river. While such barging is used worldwide, the system has yet to see Indonesian use. BBM’s river barging solution entered its next phase as after US Naval Architects were retained to undertake contract tender designs.

The 15,000-hectare BBM project is adjacent to the Barito River in Murung Raya Regency of Central Kalimantan province, in the prospective metallurgical Upper Barito Coal Basin. It is adjacent to BHP Billiton’s Joloi project, which is co-run with Indomet Coal. Cokal was granted a production lease by regency mining authorities during the current quarter and full production is slated to begin in quarter two of 2014 with a 20-year term and two permitted 10-year extensions.

BBM has a JORC resource of 77 million tonnes with an exploration target of 200 to 350 million tonnes in 13 seams within the eastern project area, which takes up about 40% of the project area. Cokal is completing definitive studies and obtaining approvals with the aim of commencing construction in October 2013.

Established in 1957, Meratus is a leading Indonesian shipping company with an integrated network of offices throughout the archipelago. MDM has worked on Barito River transport solutions over a number of years.

Cokal’s chairman and CEO Peter Lynch says, “This strategic partnership enables MDM to bring the experience and know-how necessary to ensure the success of river barging on the Barito River, and for Cokal to be a part of controlling the critical part of its supply chain. This is a significant achievement as Cokal draws closer to the commencement of coking coal production in mid-2014.”

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