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Reopening the old rail link between Inverell and Moree and drilling in additional sites north of Ashford have not been ruled out by Ashford coal miner Northern Energy Corporation Limited.
The company has found 14 million tonnes of good quality coking coal at the site of the old Ashford power station, and said if enough coal was found for a mine to be viable it would consider reopening the rail line to efficiently transport the commodity.
But Northern Energy chief executive Keith Barker has made no promises saying talk of a rail link was still a long way off.
"We don't want to get anyone's hopes up,” Mr Barker said.
"We are looking to export this coal to the world and at this stage it looks like the best option would be transportation to Newcastle so we will be looking to use rail as much as possible,” he said.
He said they were assessing both existing lines and what would be required to re-open some dis-used lines.
Mr Barker said there would be "tremendous synergies” between Northern Energy's plans and recent State and Federal Government talk about reopening a northern inland rail line.
"There has been a number of projects that have been talked about regional rail infrastructure,” he said.
"If we do have a development project at Ashford it would facilitate those things and underpin the regional line they've been speaking about.”
Mr Barker said the finds had been encouraging so far by the drilling from just 10 per cent of the total exploration area, and indications were that much more coal could be found in phase two of the exploration project.
"The 14 million tonnes is seen as an initial step in the overall exploration program,” he said.
The company has applied the drill in sites further north of Ashford and into Queensland, and Mr Barker said there was potential for coal in the larger region.
He said the company was considering exploration in the other sites soon.
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