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Bathurst Resources confirms 7.3Mt resource at Buller coal project


Bathurst Resources (ASX:BTU) has reported an initial JORC resource of 7.3 million tonnes of coal for the first stage of its Buller Coal Project in New Zealand.

As part of Bathurst’s Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the Buller Project, the company has implemented a two stage exploration program.

The first stage, which has now been completed, focused on Escarpment, the area targeted for first coal production in the Denniston Sector, with five to seven years of mine life.

Four holes totalling 215 metres were drilled bringing the total to 66 holes drilled on Escarpment.

“As a result of this drilling program Bathurst can confirm that it has an initial resource of 7.3 million tonnes of high quality coking and thermal coal, which will underpin the first seven years of production at our Buller project,” Bathurst’s Managing Director Hamish Bohannan said.

“this initial resource confirms the Buller Project’s viability. We continue to work towards our planned start up mining date of Q4 2011,” Bohannan added.

The company said drilling also showed good continuity both of seam width and coal quality. The quality of these results gives Bathurst greater confidence that the Initial JORC Resource will be converted into Reserves as part of the DFS.

Bathurst said the DFS is anticipated to be completed in Q3 2010. The updated JORC Reserve is expected to demonstrate that the primary product from the Escarpment will be a high quality coking coal.

Buoyed by the results from its first stage program at the Escarpment, Bathurst has now commenced the second stage of its exploration program.

The company said this program will involve around 20 holes and approximately 1,000 metres of drilling focusing on adding to the Denniston Sector mine life and focusing on the Deep Creek area just to the north of Escarpment.

The Denniston Sector has a conceptual exploration target of between 17 and 23 million tonnes of coal. This second phase is initially focused on Deep Creek with the aim of extending the mine life in the sector to more than 15years.

The second phase of drilling should be completed by July 2010. Bathurst expects to announce an updated JORC compliant Reserve and Resource for the Buller Project in August 2010.

Assuming a positive result from the DFS and the second stage of Bathurst’s exploration program, the company anticipates commencing a new exploration programme in FY2011 to further extend the Buller Project resources.

Bohannan said the aim of this new exploration programme is to demonstrate the estimated 50–90 million tonnes of exploration potential in the Buller Project.

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