Australian explorer Clara Resources is currently in talks with the majority owner of its Ashford metallurgical coal project in northern New South Wales regarding the acquisition of their equity stake, according to a recent update from the company.
In April 2021, Clara Resources acquired a 40% interest in the Ashford project from Laneway Resources (now Savannah Goldfields). The company now has an opportunity to purchase the remaining 60% interest for 7 million Australian dollars ($4.6 million).
While negotiations are still ongoing, Clara Resources and Savannah Goldfields are actively working towards finalizing the terms and conditions for the proposed early exercise of the option to purchase Savannah's stake.
Concurrently, Clara Resources is near the completion of a comprehensive scoping study. This study aims to assess the feasibility of developing the Ashford project into a productive mine that supplies coking coal products for export purposes.
"The study will outline a strategic roadmap for development, leveraging available data, coal pricing forecasts, as well as detailed considerations around mining, processing, and transportation," stated Clara Resources in their recent update.
Alongside the scoping study, Clara Resources is initiating an environmental impact study for the Ashford project. The company has been actively engaging with local landowners and indigenous groups throughout this process.
Last June, Clara Resources announced a significant advancement in its Ashford project. A transport options study concluded that a viable trucking solution had been identified for the project's logistical needs.
Clara Resources remains committed to advancing the Ashford project and capitalizing on its potential as a valuable source of metallurgical coal. The exploration company is confident that these ongoing efforts will lead to positive outcomes and further strengthen its position in the market.
Specialist Transport Consultants Identify Road Route for Coal Transportation
Specialist transport consultants Smith Global have recently delivered a comprehensive report that identifies a road route for trucking metallurgical (met) coal from Ashford to a rail load-out point for the Inland Rail project. This report by Smith Global has highlighted several potentially viable road-based transport options between the Ashford project and a rail head on the Boonal-Moree section of Inland Rail.
The Inland Rail freight project, developed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), aims to establish a vital transportation link connecting Brisbane to Melbourne. Notably, ARTC has already made significant progress in this regard by completing a section of the line within 120 kilometers (75 miles) of Ashford since November 2020. Moreover, ARTC has undertaken rail improvements between Narrabri in the Gunnedah coalfield and North Star in northern New South Wales as part of the Inland Rail initiative.
Ashford's met coal possesses similar properties to coking coals found in Queensland. By undergoing a washing process, it has the potential to produce a semi-hard coking product with ash content ranging from 9% to 10.5%. This makes it a valuable resource for various industrial applications.
Interestingly, prior to its closure in 1989, the nearby power plant relied on the use of unwashed run-of-mine Ashford thermal coal for over three decades. Unfortunately, efforts to export this coal were hampered by logistical challenges and limited transportation options.