Bathurst Resources has received the Authority to Enter and Operate (AEO) for the Escarpment coal project from the landowner, the Department of Conservation (DOC). The company can now proceed with earthworks and site preparation in readiness to quickly move into full mining operations once global coking coal prices recover.

Initial works will comprise site clearing, establishing initial water management dams and drainage systems, installation of coal stockpile areas, site roads and basic infrastructure including a site office and amenities.

Coal production areas will be cleared and other earthworks will be undertaken to prepare the site to transition to steady state operations when economic conditions warrant full commercial production. Activities are scheduled to commence from July 1, 2014.

Coal recovered in the initial construction phase will be sold into the domestic industrial market. It is envisaged that about 35,000 tonnes will be recovered in the first six months of site works. Some coal will also be dispatched for trials to coke and steel producers in Japan, India and other Asian markets.

Bathurst has now lodged a bond with the Buller District Council, West Coast Regional Council and DOC. The company will also be making its first payment as part of the $22 million compensation package to DOC as agreed under the Access Arrangement.

Bathurst Resources’ managing director Hamish Bohannan says, “We are delighted to be able to commence activities at Escarpment. This initial construction phase is the important first step in developing a full-scale export coking coal operation at Buller. It’s also a positive development for the West Coast community.”

Bathurst Resources is a New Zealand coal mining company with a strong focus on people and long-term environmental sustainability. In June 2013 the company completed its move from Australia and became a New Zealand company with its head office in Wellington.

Bathurst has exploration and mining permits covering 10,000 hectares on the Buller Coalfield, in New Zealand’s South Island. This coalfield is home to some of the world’s most valuable, hard coking coal used for making steel.

The company has three operating mines – Cascade on the edge of the Denniston Plateau, which produces semi-soft coking coal, Takitimu in Southland and Canterbury Coal, near Christchurch, both providing energy for local industrial users. It also owns a coal distribution centre in Timaru.

Key to Bathurst’s flagship Buller development is the Escarpment project which will provide 225 jobs, $1 billion to the New Zealand economy and pay for environmental and conservation projects for decades to come. Escarpment is the initial development of Bathurst’s Buller Coal project. It is on the historic Denniston Plateau, near Westport, which has been mined for more than 140 years. www.bathurstresources.com.au

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