New CQ mine owner investigating ways to boost production

THE COMPANY that brought mining at Cook Colliery back from the brink is investigating the potential to increase production.

Bounty Mining has revealed it is investigating ways to increase the amount of coal mined at the Blackwater site, just over a year after a flooding event led to the mine's closure by former owners Guangdong Asset Management.

Cook Colliery and Minyango coal mines were sold to Bounty Mining in December last year, after the former owners and subsidiary Caledon Coal was placed in liquidation.

The company's downfall started in March 2017 when part of the mine, the longwall, flooded.

The mine's closure caused more than 100 blue-collar job losses.

Mine operations restarted earlier this year, and in an update on its website, Bounty Mining said it was investigating the potential for expansion opportunities.

It currently has a fleet of three bolter/continuous miner machines, with a fourth to be introduced to the underground operation by early June.

Further expansion opportunities, including additional fleets, are under investigation, with the aim to build production from 1.8 million tonnes of coal per year to 2.2 million tonnes.

The company intends to expand operations at Cook Colliery to four underground mining areas with a bord and pillar operation.

The mine exports coal via the RG Tannum terminal at the Port of Gladstone.

Meanwhile, in the longer term it plans to develop the Wongai Project, which has approval.

Chief executive officer Gary Cochrane told The Observer the company was progressing with its goal for a stock market listing.

Mr Cochrane said the company was working on pre-feasibility studies for some of its "greener" projects associated with Cook Colliery.

The former owners of the mine cited the resource downturn and rising charges at Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal, which Caledon Coal was a part-owner of, as other factors to its demise.