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An Australian resource company has released details of a prospective thermal coal deposit in western Queensland.
International Coal has been exploring as part of its 'South Blackall' project in an area north-west of Charleville.
Director David Round says it has also begun talks over the need for infrastructure to support a mining operation.
He says the results of the drilling program show there is potential for an open-cut mine.
"Better than had been projected by our independent geologist at the time," he said.
"We announced our maiden JORC [joint ore reserves committee] resource of 728 million tonnes of thermal coal - pending some detailed work on quality - but we are very happy with the results.
"Potentially [it is] very suitable for an open-cut mine development in the future."
Mr Round says the company is working closely with landholders in the area as part of an ongoing exploration program.
"We also took a consortium of Chinese investors and government officials from China out to [the] site to talk about potential development, potential infrastructure and their potential involvement in something in the short to medium term," he said.
"There are a number of options for us to look at.
"If the mine is a very substantial size, it could potentially fund its own rail line through to the coast."
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) says there is a long way to go before the new deposit of coal could be mined commercially.
QRC chief executive Michael Roche says infrastructure would be needed if mining is to be established in the region.
"There's more work to do in establishing the quality of the coal and the total size of the resource," he said.
"Then of course to turn it into a commercial project, they will need access to rail, port capacity, and of course you need access to water and power."
This article first appeared on au.news.yahoo.com
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