(EnergyAsia, April 8 2011, Friday) — Australian Stock Exchange(ASX)-listed MetroCoal Ltd said it has appointed Caldrex Capital Pty Ltd to market and manage expressions of interest for a joint venture (JV) partner for the wholly-owned Wandoan West tenement, or exploration permit for coal (EPC) 1164.

The East Brisbane, Queensland-based energy company said in its 2009 prospectus that it was targeting to explore the Bundi project area which holds between 240 million tonnes and 335 million tonnes of thermal coal suited predominantly for underground mining.

MetroCoal said it has achieved an inferred resource of 381 million tonnes, already exceeding the Bundi target which represents a small portion of the 84-sq km EPC 1164 tenement area.

The company said this contributes towards its overall exploration target of between 2.5 and 3.5 billion tonnes with a Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) code classification of “inferred” or better by the end of 2011 for its Surat Basin coal projects in southeastern Queensland state.

MetroCoal said it resumed drilling on the Bundi project area in February 2011. The current drilling programme consists of 70 holes on an 800-metres offset grid pattern to optimise drill spacing for resource estimation. Drilling is designed to increase resource confidence to the indicated level and provide further data for preliminary underground mining studies.

The company said drilling in the Bundi project area will extend southeastwards to increase geological information of the down dip extensions of the Xstrata Wandoan deposit and potentially bring additional large areas to resource confidence.

MetroCoal announced on last March 15 it had started the statutory approval process for a proposed coal mine within EPC 1164 through submission of the initial advice statement for the Bundi coal mine project.

David Barwick, MetroCoal chairman, said:

“We look forward to working with the team at Caldrex Capital. They bring a strong combination of reach to prospective partners and coal project experience. Our announcement to the ASX on March 22 2011 advising that we are seeking a JV partner for EPC 1164 has already created significant interest.”

Sydney-based Caldrex Capital is an independent corporate finance specialist in the energy, resources and infrastructure sectors, with a number of successful coal project acquisitions and feasibility studies.