Financials and operations

Future growth projects

Buller (100 percent equity share)

The Buller project encompasses mining and exploration permits as well as a coal mining licence (Sullivan) on the Denniston plateau on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Being close to the Stockton mine infrastructure assets, which include the coal handling and preparation plant and a rail loadout facility, this creates material synergies.

The permits include the Escarpment and Cascade mines. Escarpment is currently on care and maintenance, allowing for a ready return to operation when appropriate. We initiated a significant rehabilitation project at the Cascade mine during the year, which will include stabilisation earthworks and topsoil spreading and rehabilitation planting. This work is expected to be completed in FY21.

Key resource development achievements during the year include:

  • Progression of drilling programmes.
  • Financial assessments and scenarios completed for key opencast resources.
  • Completion of a stakeholder engagement plan.
  • Finalisation of the concept Upper Waimangaroa haul road (the possible transport corridor to the Stockton infrastructure assets), and completion of associated major environmental baseline studies.
  • Completion of major environmental baseline studies for the Sullivan mining licence and the haul road corridor.

The focus for FY21 is on advancing the Sullivan project.

Stockton organic growth project (65 percent equity share)

This project represents the potential to extend Stockton operations via a natural southern extension into open cut pits within the Upper Waimangaroa permit area.

During the year concept engineering reports were finalised, hole drilling was progressed, and a financial assessment of the open cast resources was completed.

Rotowaro North (65 percent equity share)

The Rotowaro North project is a potential extension project to the current Rotowaro mine operations. Key progress made during the year on this project were:

  • Completion of a broad-brush risk assessment.
  • Drafting of a prefeasibility project plan.
  • Progress made on the environmental baseline study.

The focus for FY21 will be to secure mineral and land access rights. Other coal resources near the existing operation are being investigated with a shorter timeframe to production.

Crown Mountain, Canada (22 percent equity share)

Located in a mature mining region in British Columbia, Canada, with well-established transport infrastructure, Crown Mountain is a joint venture with Jameson Resources Limited. The agreement allows us to buy in to this project in three stages (worth CAD $121.5m) to achieve 50:50 ownership, with future investment at our sole discretion.

We have committed to the first two funding tranches equalling a total investment of CAD $11.5m. At 30 June 2020 we had also invested an advance of CAD $2.6m on the final tranche.

Highlights

  • The bankable feasibility study has been completed, which reaffirmed Crown Mountain as a high-quality coking coal opportunity for development with a competitive operating and capital cost structure.
  • The environmental assessment is on track for the application to be submitted in the first quarter of calendar year 2021.
  • We had a 22.2 percent equity share in the project at 30 June 2020, including 2.2 percent held as preference shares from the final tranche option advance.