According to The Australian Financial Review, Japanese trading giant Itochu has signed a deal with Queensland company Vitrinite to develop a new coking coal mine in central Queensland, in a further sign of the resurgence of the coal sector since the global downturn.
While Indian energy company Adani struggles to secure finance for its $16.5 billion Carmichael mine – which plans to export thermal coal from the Galilee Basin to use in its power stations on the subcontinent – there is strong investor interest for metallurgical or coking coal, which is used for steel production.
The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed spending on mineral exploration in the December quarter was $64.3 million – a 27 per cent increase on the same period in 2016.
The deal between Itochu and Vitrinite is significant because it involves the development of a new greenfield tenement in the Bowen Basin following the discovery of a potential 123 million tonnes of metallurgical coal with the deposit promising some of the highest-quality coking coal ever found in Australia.
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